REVIEW: Pretty Reckless by L.J. Shen

by - 5:36 PM

“Love is so much uglier than hate because when you hate, you’re not confused. When you’re in love, you’re dumb.”

Back of the book blurb:


 They say revenge is a dish best served cold.
I’d had four years to stew on what Daria Followhill did to me, and now my heart was completely iced.
I took her first kiss.
She took the only thing I loved.
I was poor.
She was rich.
The good thing about circumstances? They can change. Fast.
Now, I’m her parents’ latest shiny project.
Her housemate. Her tormentor. The captain of the rival football team she hates so much.
Yeah, baby girl, say it—I’m your foster brother.
There’s a price to pay for ruining the only good thing in my life, and she’s about to shell out some serious tears.
Daria Followhill thinks she is THE queen. I’m about to prove to her that she’s nothing but a spoiled princess.


 Everyone loves a good old unapologetic punk.
But being a bitch? Oh, you get slammed for every snarky comment, cynical eye roll, and foot you put in your adversaries’ way.
The thing about stiletto heels is that they make a hell of a dent when you walk all over the people who try to hurt you.
In Penn Scully’s case, I pierced his heart until he bled out, then left it in a trash can on a bright summer day.
Four years ago, he asked me to save all my firsts for him.
Now he lives across the hall, and I want nothing more than to be his last everything.
His parting words when he gave me his heart were that nothing in this world is free.
Now? Now he is making me pay.

Chase’s thoughts:

Publication Date: April 21, 2019
Pages: 360

Available for Purchase:

My rating:

            I have so many feelings about Pretty Reckless, it’s honestly unreal. I will admit, it took me a while to get through. Not for the reasons you’re thinking, though. There are just some books that evoke such intense emotions inside of you that you have to take breaks or you can only handle the novel in small doses. That’s how Pretty Reckless was for me. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s so brutally honest that it can make even the strongest just a little bit uncomfortable. It’s those exact things that make Pretty Reckless unforgettable.

            Pretty Reckless is the first novel in the new All Saints High series and if you’re in the mood for the most messed up cast of characters to ever grace you with their presence, then this is the book for you.

“I’m Daria Followhill. Cheer Captain. Rich Bitch. Little Miss Popular.”

            I’m still relatively new to L.J. Shen’s writing—I’ve only read maybe two or three of her books (I know! I know! Don’t kill me!), but I still knew that she wasn’t afraid of the nitty gritty. However, I do not think I’ve ever said, “what the fuck” so much while reading a book, like, ever. Pretty Reckless isn’t for the faint of heart, and honestly, I think that’s why I enjoyed it so thoroughly. There’s just something about dark and raw novels that captivate me. Maybe because they force me to dig deep inside myself and feel emotions that I don’t normally feel. Maybe just because I’m messed up and don’t even realize it.

            Just… think of Pretty Reckless as a rated R Gossip Girl on steroids. All Saints High is full of the cattiest and the most brutal group of people I’ve ever come across.

“You bury me so deep in feelings I can’t even explain.”

            On par with Penelope Douglas’s dark romances, Penn and Daria are no good for each other. Does that stop them? Of course not. Sometimes doing something wrong can feel so right. And that’s exactly how it is between Penn and Daria. They both hate each other, but their chemistry is not to be ignored. This results in some of the hottest sex scenes that I have ever read.

            It’s so easy to tell when an author isn’t comfortable writing sex scenes. I can assure you, L.J. Shen is not only comfortable with writing them, it seems like she has a take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to them because every single time, she kills it. She’s not scared—she lives for it.

“I’m officially done with people who don’t choose me or see me.”

            Amongst the darkness, there are some extremely tender moments that actually had me choking up. (No surprise there!) Pretty Reckless is not only a dark romance, but a coming-of-age story that teaches a valuable lesson about self-discovery. Not so coincindentally, these were some of my favorite parts of the novel.

“My eyes are always on Daria.”

            Pretty Reckless shook the table, which is what I think we all need in our lives sometimes. Reading about the dark side of love can make you appreciate it so much more. So, please, go read this book, because I’m still in a book hangover due to it.

Happy Reading!

The Wandereader

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