Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Precious Dreadful ~ Steven Parlato (earc) review [@SimonTeen @parlatowrites]

The Previous Dreadful
Simon Pulse
February 13, 2018
352 pages
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Teddi Alder 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 fears she’s losing her grip 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 new 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.
The Precious Dreadful was just not the book for me; Teddi's character and, especially, the romance really did not work for me. I did not love the writing in the beginning but as the book continued it either changed or I started to like it more. Sadly, I still had issues with Teddi and her relationships.

The romantic relationship in this novel really bothered me. It felt unhealthy and possibly dangerous. The male character had issues - that, weirdly, were stated to the other character very plainly but did not cause any alarm or hesitancy. Even if Teddi seemed fine with the actions, behaviors and words, I wanted one of the other characters to address the potential trouble. No one did (at least not with any follow through).

There's a 'big romantic gesture' that, possibly because of my feelings on the character and the relationship felt more controlling and troubling than sweet and romantic.

Maybe if I had felt more development of the relationship - it seemed to go from an interaction she remembers as 'hostile' (pg 37) to something she thinks could, "end up being for real." (Pg 39) Beyond his physical attractiveness, I had trouble seeing what the character's appeal was to her.

The mystery of this novel was fun and intriguing. The general picture of what happened was easy to guess fairly early on but why it is something the characters need to figure out and how it pieces together was compelling. This was a mystery that I would have enjoyed if I had cared about or understood the characters. At times I liked Teddi's acerbity but other times she felt mean and petty.

It felt like I was too old or too responsible or something for this book. There were too many things that characters did not care about, did not notice, or where there wasn't follow up/consequences.

Also? Teddi was awfully judgmental of people's names for someone named Teddi.

Interestingly, after I finished the book, I found myself wanting Brenda, Teddi's mother's, story. From where she failed Teddi to the things Teddi was so dismissive of and the bits her past mentioned, she could be more sympathetic than her daughter.

So, no, this was not the book for me but if you see the novel's romance differently and are able to connect with and/or relate to the characters more, The Precious Dreadful may be a book for you to read.

digital review copy received thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

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