Abusive Relationships, Dysfunctional Families, Mystery, Paranormal, Substance Abuse, Suspense, YA Fiction
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: Teddi Adler is just trying to figure out her life.
When she joins SUMMERTEENS, a library writing group, she’s only looking to keep herself busy, not go digging around in her subconscious. But as she writes, disturbing memories of her childhood friend Corey bubble to the surface, and Teddi begins to question everything: her friendship with her BFF Willa, how much her mom really knows, and even her own memories. Teddi feels she’s losing her group on reality—-as evidenced by that mysterious ghost-girl who emerges from the park pool one night, the one who won’t leave Teddi alone. To top it all off, she finds herself juggling two guys with potential, a quirky boy named Joy and her handsome barista crush Aidan, who has some issues of his own.
As the summer unfolds, Teddi is determined to get to the bottom of everything—-her feelings, the mysterious ghost-girl, and the memories of Corey that refuse to be ignored.
I have to give The Precious Dreadful kudos for being so highly original. It also had many other good qualities. I liked Teddi and completely emphasized with her desperate attempts to solve a mystery going back to her childhood. I also loved her BFF Willa who loyally stuck by her even when Teddi turned on her. I wasn’t fond of the romance between Teddi and Aidan however. Their relationship was verbally/emotionally abusive from the beginning, and even though Teddi would stand up for herself, she’d still go back to him. I don’t have an issue with abusive relationships in YA fiction as long as there’s a lesson imparted. But that’s not the case here. Aidan is never called out on his unacceptable behavior and that spoiled what otherwise would have been a 4-5 star read for me. At the end of the book something happens that I surmise was supposed to make the reader feel more sympathetic toward him, but it just didn’t work for me.
The plot itself is quite eerie and kept me guessing through much of the book. The more I read, the bigger feeling of dread swept over me as I wondered what poor Teddi was going to uncover in the end. I started this about mid-afternoon and couldn’t stop reading until I finished around 11:00 at night.
Except for the romance, I really enjoyed The Precious Dreadful and it’s intriguing mystery. I loved Steven Parlato’s writing style and the way the story flowed so smoothly. I also thought he did a fairly convincing job portraying a 15-going-on-16-year-old girl. The story has just a touch of the paranormal and is compelling and will keep readers wondering. Despite my issues with the romance, I think this would still make a worthy book discussion choice as readers could debate over what Teddi should have done in response to Aidan’s behavior.
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