First things first...Happy Birthday to my brother!! :-D
Now, on to business. Today I'd like to share with you my thoughts on PRECIOUS THINGS by Stephanie Parent. This is one of the first new adult books I've read, and I really enjoyed it!
Isabelle Andrews isn’t supposed to be here. She isn’t supposed to be a freshman at Hartford Community College, she isn't supposed to be living at home and working at her dad’s failing bakery, and she definitely isn’t supposed to be taking Intro to Electronic Music Production, a class that will get her nowhere toward her goal of an English Lit Ph.D. by age twenty-five. But when her dad’s latest business fiasco eats up her college fund, Hartford Community College is exactly where Isabelle finds herself—and thanks to her late enrollment, she doesn’t even get to choose her classes. Stuck with Electronic Music and way-too-easy English courses, Isabelle is determined to wallow in all the misery she feels entitled to.
But community college brings some unexpected benefits…like the fact that a certain overworked, over-scheduled Electronic Music professor hands over most of his duties to his teaching assistant. His tall, green-eyed, absolutely gorgeous teaching assistant. When TA Evan Strauss discovers Isabelle’s apathy toward electronic music—and, well, all music—he makes it his mission to convert her. The music Evan composes stirs something inside Isabelle, but she can’t get involved—after all, she’ll be transferring out as soon as possible.
Still, no matter how tightly Isabelle holds on to her misery, she finds it slipping away in the wake of all Hartford Community offers: new friendships, a surprisingly cool poetry professor, and most of all, Evan. But Evan’s dream of owning his own music studio is as impractical as Isabelle’s dad’s bakery, and when Evan makes a terrible decision, everything Isabelle has gained threatens to unravel. Soon Isabelle discovers that some of the most important lessons take place outside the classroom…and that in life, as in Evan’s favorite Depeche Mode song, the most precious things can be the hardest to hold on to.
I really enjoyed PRECIOUS THINGS. The biggest thing that stood out for me was how well-written it was...Isabelle's voice was consistent and authentic, and the writing "disappeared" within the story, which is a very, very good sign. It was very smooth and a joy to read. The plot took me a chapter or two to get into, but I didn't mind because I was really interested in Isabelle and getting to know her better. This is a "quiet" book, where the characters drive the action, not the other way around. I found that quite refreshing after reading several paranormals recently.
I really enjoyed all the characters and loved all the little details that helped them come alive on the page. The only relationship that confused me, a bit, was Isabelle's relationship with her father. She seemed especially hard on him, dismissive even, and the "but I love him anyway" I was hoping for seemed to kind of be missing. I was also waiting for them to have some kind of confrontation or resolution of their feelings for one another and that didn't end up happening. Ultimately, though, the book wasn't about their relationship, so it wasn't a huge issue for me as a reader.
I loved watching Isabelle and Evan get to know each other better. I can't say enough about Isabelle's voice...seeing Evan through her eyes felt so realistic. I related to a lot of her thoughts about him...and her situation at HCC.
Overall, I would happily recommend this novel to folks who enjoy a good romance, with a leading lady who has a personality, flaws, and depth...and who also has a point of view. I didn't always agree with her take on the world and her relationships, but I appreciated that she HAD a take and didn't seem to bend and change at the will of her creator. Isabelle feels like her own person from the beginning of the story and stays herself, even as she grows and changes throughout the book. So happy I picked this book up! I'll definitely be reading more from Stephanie Parent.
A note: While categorized as "new adult" this book did not contain NC-17 material. It would be appropriate for mature high school readers.
Check out what the other Bookanistas are raving about this week!
- Jessica Love falls for THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
- Rebecca Behrens is excited for THE DESPERATE ADVENTURES OF ZENO & AYLA by Jane Kelley
- Christine Fonseca is intrigued by IRON BUTTERFLY by Chanda Hahn
- Tracy Banghart is loving PRECIOUS THINGS by Stephanie Parent
- Katy Upperman is captivated over FIRE by Kristen Cashore