The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison Contemporary Young Adult July 13, 2021 by Inkyard Press Reviewed by Kate
The Right Side of Reckless is the very first young adult contemporary novel I’ve reviewed, and as I was reading it, it occurred to me I have no idea how to review YA contemporary! I’ve reviewed plenty of YA fantasy before, and there’s a lot to talk about there in terms of world building and such, and I’ve reviewed adult romance novels, but I feel sketchy talking about young adult characters in the same way I would for an adult book.
Regardless of my complete ignorance of what to talk about in this review, I really did enjoy The Right Side of Reckless. I think it tackles questions that teenagers care about – like what to do when your parents have a specific vision for you and you aren’t interested in that version of your life at all, or how do you come back from a big mistake? Regan and Guillermo are both dealing with things that all teenagers go through on some level – disappointing your parents or feeling like nobody knows who you are, really.
My biggest complaint is that though this book really does a good job of handling issues that teenagers will likely empathize with, the characters read as way older than they are. I’ve read adult romances with less mature characters than Regan and Guillermo. Especially Guillermo – his inner monologue is so self-aware I frequently forgot he was just a teenager. And I know that there are teenage boys that are very mature, but I would also say they’re few and far between, and it wasn’t super believable, especially when coupled with things like Guillermo referencing Dr. Phil internally when he was talking to a girl somebody was trying to set him up with.
Overall, The Right Side of Reckless is a cute but fairly deep young adult contemporary. I really like the characters and the growth that Regan and Guillermo display throughout the course of the book, and I appreciate how it took on serious issues without becoming too preachy.
Content notes: Regan’s boyfriend is pushy with regards to sex and a few times gets more handsy than she explicitly consents to. There are flashbacks to a violent encounter between two teenage boys and a teenage girl cheating on her boyfriend. A dog gets lost and is implied to have died (doesn’t return before the end of the book).