Summary: Reckless Glorious Girl
Reckless Glorious Girl is Ellen Hagan’s new middle grade verse novel. Beatrice lives with her Mawmaw (her grandmother) and her mom in Bardstown, Kentucky. Her father died in an accident months before she was born.
The book is set the summer before seventh grade and Beatrice is trying to figure out who she wants to be. Although she has two great girlfriends, she’s curious about what life would be like with the popular girls. She’s also crushing on a boy named Rodney, while wishing her more athletic frame (from her Mawmaw) will blossom into a more “womanly” figure. Then, her mom starts dating a not-so-nice guy who thinks they should move to a bigger city.
I LOVED this book. As with all novels-in-verse, I was suspicious at the start, but Beatrice’s story won me over. It was all the women for me. Her Mawmaw who loves gardening and dancing and cooking LUSH meals — Mawmaw who loves everything homemade. Her mother who envied Beatrice’s easy flow with her grandmother and is trying to make a life for herself outside of widowhood and a busy career. Beatrice’s fiercely-loving girlfriends who had her back every second of the way.
This book is harder to describe because it is an introspective, slice-of-life book. We follow Beatrice through all her longing and soul searching. Still, it wins because it is so atmospheric. Ellen Hagan’s most poetic scenes are in her vivid descriptions of the South, all the food Mawmaw makes, and Beatrice zipping along on her purple bike.
I would, however, recommend this for a slightly older crowd, ages 10 and up. The kids play spin the bottle and crushes are a big part of the discussion throughout the story.
Overall: Reckless Glorious Girl
Reckless, Glorious, Girl is a quintessential coming-of-age story about a girl whose community of women helps her find herself. Set in the US South, this verse novel is chock-full of lush nature, mouthwatering cooking scenes, exuberant sleepovers, and stomach fluttering crushes. If you enjoy introspective heroines and stories centering grandparents, warm female friendships, and the grief of losing a parent you never met, this is the book for you.
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I received an eARC of this book from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.
More Verse Novel Reviews
Have you read this book or any book by Ellen Hagan? I really like her writing! Verse novels FTW, so excited to read more!