Thursday 4 November 2021

Book Review + Favourite Quotes (Blog Tour) | The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath

Publication Date: 9th November 2021 by Soho Teen
Format: Netgalley ARC
Target Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Historical 


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It’s Norway 1904, and Asta Hedstrom doesn’t want to marry her odious betrothed, Nilseven though a domestic future is all her mother believes she’s suited for, on account of her single-sided deafness, unconventional appearance, and even stranger notions. Asta would rather spend her life performing in the village theater with her friends and fellow outcasts: her best friend Gunnar Fuglestad and his secret boyfriend, wealthy Erlend Fournier. But the situation takes a dire turn when Nils lashes out in jealousygravely injuring Gunnar. Shunning marriage for good, Asta moves with Gunnar and Erlend to their secluded cabin above town. With few ties left with their families, they have one shot at gaining enough kroner to secure their way of life: win the village’s annual horse race.


My Thoughts

 "It's being different, not being imperfect, which got one into trouble"   

The Reckless Kind ended up on my Most Anticipated list for the second half of the year so when I saw there was a blog tour happening I had to sign up. Set in 1904 Norway, we follow three friends; Asta, Erland and Gunnar as they resist living the lives their parents want for them and set out to make their own paths. The only way they find that they can do this is by winning the prize money that comes with winning the annual Christmas horse race. 

That's the bones of the plot but there's so much more to this book then it's initial premise. I usually read historical fiction that has a main mystery element to it so one with more contemporary themes was a different pace for me but this book has so much heart and positivity to it. 

Personally, I found the writing to be one of this books strongest points. Whilst it wasn't particularly quotable, it had such a warmth to it. It's also very relevant for the time period it's set in. A lot of historical novels will either use to much modern language which takes you out of the story or over use old fashioned terms which make it clunky to read. This one has the perfect balance, the author never felt like she was trying to hard to fit the time period with the language but it was still true to it and you can tell a lot of research went into this book to make it authentic. 

This is a very character driven story. Asta, Erland and Gunnar are a band of outcasts that are struggling to fit into their small community and create a family of their own when they feel they no longer have one. I adored this trio so, so much, I felt their bond immediately and it was beautiful to see a group of people just being able to completely be themselves around each other especially in the early 1900s. We get two POV's which I initially found a little strange with their being three main characters but I actually think it worked for the best. Asta has the biggest voice and was my personal favourite. I love a gutsy, fighting heroine defying the stereotypes places upon her in historical fiction. Erland is our other voice and he is such a generous and loving soul that tries to always do the best by people. Together we get to know Gunnar through them and honestly he just needs to be wrapped up in a blanket and smothered with cuddles.   

The representation in here is fantastic for disability and mental health. Asta is asexual and exploring how she feels about not wanting to marry and have children as is tradition for young women. We get to see her figuring out her feelings and I think it was really well done. She's also partially deaf something that the author also experiences so it was interesting for the author to create this character that appears so different and how she is perceived by her town. Gunnar and Erland are both gay (and in the most precious relationship) whilst not open about it initially are still very proud of their sexuality. We also have a few other conditions represented such as Erland's anxiety, Gunnar's depression and Brown-Sequard syndrome and another character has a case of post-concussion syndrome. All of these are handled with care and whilst I can't comment on all of them, Erland's anxiety for me was represented really well. 

Overall, whilst the pacing was a little slow at times and I felt like the ending could've been extended slightly, I really loved the voice this book gave to so many areas of representation. It's wonderfully written, exudes kindness and will have you sobbing happy tears by the end. If you're looking for a found family, animal loving, queer historical novel, then look no further then The Reckless Kind.  

Favourite Quotes

"People have faults. moments of imperfection, moments of fear."
"Some do what's right. Some do what they're told. I've been doing what I'm told for far too long."
"I'm the most sentimental person in this town. And, truthfully that's my curse."
"You're a person, not a word."
"Being young didn't mean I couldn't feel what I felt and what what I wanted."    

About the Author

Carly Heath (she/they) earned her BA from San Francisco State University and her MFA from Chapman University. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Carly teaches design, art, theater, and writing for various colleges and universities. She spends all her time and most her money tending to a menagerie of rescued farm animals. The Reckless Kind is her first novel.

Author Links:

Tour Schedule

I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes included in this review are subject to change. Massive thank you to Soho Teen for providing me with a review copy. A huge thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for letting me take part in the blog tour as well. 

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