Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Precious Things by Stephanie Parent

Title: Precious Things
Author: Stephanie Parent
Publisher: Stephanie Parent
Release Date: June 4, 2013
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.

My Thoughts: As soon as I started Precious Things, I knew I was going to love the characters and the story. It was such a fun and heartfelt book, and it really stood out from other books I've read in the new adult genre. It just had that extra special something I like to find in the books I read. I wish I knew how to perfectly describe it, but what I can say is that I was able to click with the story right away. It was exactly what I needed to read at the time, and I wish it never had to end.

Isabelle was the main character of Precious Things. She was hilarious and had me cracking me up throughout the entire book! I loved her honesty and snarky attitude. While she might come off as a bit whiny to some, I understood why she felt the need to complain about her life and why she wanted to run away and avoid certain situations. When you worked really hard for something and find out it was all for nothing, it's not always easy to accept nor is it easy coping with the aftermath. In Isabelle's case she wasn't able to get into her dream college because of money issues and that meant she was stuck at home with the same job while attending a local community college. The way she reacted to things around her, whether it was good or bad, made her a much more genuine character in my eyes, and I couldn't help but to adore and root for her.

Evan was the guy Isabelle ended up falling for, and he's actually the teacher's assistant in the electronic music class Isabelle had no choice but to take. I loved Evan as much as I did Isabelle. Not only because he was really good-looking, although that didn't hurt, but because he was patient and sweet with Isabelle and the rest of the students in their class. (Him teaching the class made him sound even hotter, by the way.) He was one of the reasons Isabelle began to not hate community college as much as she did in the beginning.

I also loved that Evan could match Isabelle's snarkiness and that he challenged her. Since they had an immediate attraction to one another, plenty of fun banter and tension formed between them. Their relationship together was adorable and sexy. There were many moments where I was swooning like crazy. What I really appreciated about their relationship and them as characters, though, was that they weren't perfect. Both made mistakes and sometimes said things that they regretted. It just made them and their relationship easier to relate to. And them being mature enough to own up to their actions made it even better.

Before I end this review, I would like to mention a few more aspects that made me happy. I loved that there was a pretty diverse cast of characters in this book. Isabelle is part Korean, and it was great that even though she didn't know much about her Korean side there were still moments of her thinking about it scattered throughout the book. Another thing was all the mentions of electronic music. It's my favorite type of music to listen to! I'm no expert like Evan. In fact, I probably would have been as confused as Isabelle if I had taken the class and I haven't listened to much of Depeche Mode's songs either. But at least like Evan I can appreciate awesome music, so whenever a song was brought up I went on YouTube and listened to it. 'Precious,' the song that seems to have inspired the title of the book and fits the story perfectly, was my favorite! It was a beautiful song. How could I not fall for Evan with his great taste in music? hehe

Precious Things was the start of new beginnings. The author did a wonderful job showing how complicated and complex life and relationships, including family dynamics and friendships, can be. And while there's not always an easy resolution to life's problems, eventually amazing opportunities will come along that may change the course of what we thought we wanted out of life. This book was really a great read for me, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever Stephanie Parent writes next!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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