When I heard about this queer historical fiction, I wondered why it wasn’t on my radar earlier. So when I saw a tweet from the author about The Reckless Kind, I knew I had to remedy that! If you love queer stories, sleigh races, and friendship, this one is for you. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
It’s Norway 1904, and Asta Hedstrom doesn’t want to marry her odious betrothed, Nils—even 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 jealousy—gravely 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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Reckless Kind is a heartfelt story about love, friendship, and perseverance. For Nils, Asta, and Erlend, their lives on the Outside looking in – whether it be because of their choices, who they love, or their hobbies – creates a friendship that is based on acceptance. This foundation in The Reckless Kind was always going to make my heart swoon. It’s found family at its finest. And because The Reckless Kind is multiple POV, we are treated to delving deeply into each character’s motivations, dreams, and defenses.
We are able to see how they yearn to stretch outside the narrow boxes of society. How they are stuck between what they should do and what they want to do. The Reckless Kind is both about these brief and fleeting moments of triumph, but also these larger forces of acceptance and compassion. Instantly I was rooting for these three. For their mistakes, which are relatable even in us wanting to scream, and the ways their friendship feels fragile, tender, and precious.
While The Reckless Kind doesn’t shy away from the homophobia and lack of acceptance, it’s very much a story about hope, determination, and love. About delivering a loving, compassionate, and wintery story with mental health discussions, lashing out at the ones we love, and sleigh race adventures. If you love both this idea of underdogs training for a race AND love the idea of queer disabled teens pursuing happiness and existence, then you have to read The Reckless Kind.
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