REVIEW & EXCERPT: Pretty Reckless by L.J. Shen

We were supposed to be best friends

But turned out to be worst enemies…


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 is 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 of my firsts for him.

Now he lives across the hall, and there’s nothing I want 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.

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“I don’t want you transferring into my school,” I hiss out. Melody would gladly file a transfer request, and Principal Prichard would salivate over the chance to snatch him up for our football team.

“That won’t be a problem. You guys suck so much ass, you have shit-breath.”

“Still smells better than poverty. You’re poor, right? Your sister was just bullshitting about being rich.”

When someone hits me with a stick, I run over them with a tank. I’m so mean to him I want to throw up. I hate this part of being me. The striking harder at all costs part.

“Just to make things clear.” I put the brush down, batting my lashes. “You’re not my step-sibling, foster brother, or a part of the family. You’re a stray dog. Last of the litter, most unlikely to be adopted, and a charity case.”

Penn takes a step toward me, and my heart is fighting its way out of my ribcage. The closer he gets, the more I realize that my heart might succeed. Penn’s eyes remind me of a snake’s. Mesmerizing, but inhuman altogether. They weren’t like that before.

His scent messes with my head. I want to reach out and caress his face. Kiss his wounds better. Beg for forgiveness. Curse him. Push him away. Cry on his shoulder for what we’ve done. For how it ended. For what we became afterwards, because I’m full of crap and he is totally empty.

We ruined ourselves the day of our first kiss.

Penn looks down at me. Time stops. It feels like the world is losing gravity, falling into a bottomless depth in space when he clasps my chin with his thumb and finger, lifting my head up. I can’t breathe. I’m not sure I want to, either. My towel drops to the floor with a thud, even though I secured it over my chest. I realize that he tugged at it intentionally. I’m naked. My body, my soul, my heart. All my walls are down. Somewhere in my head, a red alarm blasts and my inhibitions are getting armed, ready to fight back. I’m trying to decode his expression. He is amused, irritated, and…playful? The mixture of emotions doesn’t make any sense.

“Mess with me, Followhill, and I will ruin you.”

“Not if I ruin you first.”

Pretty Reckless was everything I didn't know I needed! Penn and Daria were a toxic, angst ridden ride that still has me reeling.

Penn Scully and Daria Followhill are two of the most damaged and complicated characters I've read in a long time.

Daria Followhill is not your typical high school girl. Sure, she's the School Cheer Captain, the popular IT girl that everyones wants to be or be with but Daria has secrets. Insecure and jealous secrets that are her motivations for her actions.

Penn Scully is not your typical high school boy. Sure, he's the football team captain, he's the tortured bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but he also has secrets. Secrets that fuel his hate for Daria Followhill.

Penn and Daria have an intense and angst filled first meeting that turns both of there worlds upside down with one simple gesture.

While Pretty Reckless is about two high school students, it is most definitely not a YA book. The struggles, the secrets, the angst are all most decidedly not YA. I love L.J's writing style, she knows how to suck you into a story and keep you there right till the very last page. With twists and turns at every stop you never know whats coming next or what to expect. L.J Shen always has unique storylines full of complex main characters and side characters that always add so much to the story. She not only knows how to suck you into a story but how to draw out every single emotion.

L.J Shen is an author who books you want to devour, who has a cult following desperate for any and every word she writes. And I can tell you that it's not hype. She fulfils every promise that every one of her readers will make to you about falling in love with her words.


About The Author: L.J. Shen

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

⭐️ Stay up to date with L.J. Shen by signing up for her mailing list: HERE

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