The Precious Dreadful by Steven Parlato
Published by Simon Pulse, Expected February 2018
Genre: YA, Paranormal
SO WOW. If I had known how much I would love The Precious Dreadful, I would have gone at it a lot sooner! I let it sit on my computer for thirty whole days.
Can we please talk about this cover? It’s so beautiful.
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.
So I had a feeling I would like The Precious Dreadful just from that weird description. I love how the ghost is mentioned so offhandedly. “Oh, yeah, AND there’s a ghost.” Like her other problems are bigger.
I’m also such a sucker for anything involved in young people writing. So we have Teddi’s writing group, boy problems, mom problems, unreliable memory (I love me an unreliable narrator), and oh, yeah, that pesky ghost.
I knew if the book was as quirky as its description, I’d dig it. And it does not disappoint.
Is GORGEOUS. The voice captured me immediately.
The beauty for me is especially in this, like, incongruity between the super modern Teddi voice saying things like “legit” and that her illness might be “contage” but also comes out with these brilliant comebacks and gorgeous metaphors. This could have gone SO wrong but it works so well.
One ghost scene actually gave me the chills, which is a huge compliment. It is eerie and spectacular.
The pacing is spot on, this is easily the kind of book one could finish in a day.
The world-building is fantastic. I can feel Teddi’s crappy house and smell the pond. And y’all. THE POND. So much of this takes place around a pond where little Teddi and her childhood friend Corey played. I have no trouble seeing the pond, hearing what happens. It’s just so beautifully written.
So great. This is phenomenal because while the characters aren’t all always likable, they’re so incredibly real and you feel for them, even the crappier ones.
Our narrator, Teddi, is phenomenal. I loved her voice right away, and it never lets you down. Going through a less-than-perfect life with nothing but her dog and a ton of super dark humor, and it fucking works for me. Teddi is the one to make a bad situation worse with an ill-timed joke, and I’m so here for it. Teddi does have a rather infuriating relationship with her on again/off again boyfriend, Aiden, and I think it’s important to remember that while that drives us crazy, it’s VERY realistic for a girl her age, especially given her home life. She’s so loving, so feeling, even taking care of her drunk mom whom some would have given up on.
Speaking of her mom, wow. I KNOW THIS WOMAN. She is often awful, calling Teddi names and there’s a physical fight in there, too. But their relationship, their dynamic, their every interaction feels so authentic. I love their shorthand, their ease in communication. And even if her mom is awful, I want to root for her. I hope to be given a reason.
You know I love me a girl friendship, and the one between Teddi and her BFF Willa is awesome. It has bumps, oh lord it has bumps. But it is so solid and amazing and their knowledge and support of one another is beautiful.
We also can’t forget the ghost, who is so important even if she doesn’t say much. Her presence creeped me out in the best way.
I am DEFINITELY going to pick up Steven Parlato’s first book, and keep an eye out for anything coming up from him! This book is strange and creepy and so delightful.
Each of these gorgeous photos links to the IG post, show these some love!
*I don’t own any of the photos used for aesthetics in this post. Each photo links to where I found it!*