Awww….I feel so special…you stopped in to see me. Oh wait…no you didn’t! You stopped in to see the Precious Things Book Blitz didn’t you? That’s ok. I don’t want to disappoint so here you go!
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 mostprecious things can be the hardest to hold on to.
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block’s WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Precious Things features a lot of Depeche Mode songs in the story, and while most of them are named in the novel, a few are not, so I thought it might be helpful to put together an official Precious Things playlist! I also have to admit that I am not much of a Depeche Mode fan—I really only started to listen to their music while I was thinking about this book, mulling over the idea of a story set around an electronic music production class. (Like Isabelle, I also took an electronic music class at a community college; however, I was already a college graduate at the time and the class wasn’t for credit.) Also like Isabelle, there are a lot of Depeche Mode songs I don’t like, but I have found a few that I really love, and the mood and tone of them had a huge influence on the writing of Precious Things. So here are the songs, in the order they appear in the book:
- “Enjoy the Silence”—For the record, I hate this song almost as much as Isabelle does. It’s one of Depeche Mode’s earlier hits.
- “Waiting for the Night”—This is the song Isabelle listens to after reading the Robert Frost poem “Acquainted with the Night,” and the combined effect of the song and poem prompts an unexpected emotional reaction.
- “I Want It All”—Evan plays this song for Isabelle the first time they’re alone together. In other words, the almost-kiss sexual-tension song.
- “Halo”—The soundtrack to Evan and Isabelle’s first date. The “girl with a famine in her heart” song.
- “Goodnight Lovers”—This song foreshadows some of the troubles Isabelle and Evan will face in the last part of the book.
- “Precious”—This one is my favorite too.
And if you want more Depeche Mode, here are some other songs that inspired me, but didn’t make it into the book: “Ghost,” “Useless,” “Stripped,” “One Caress,” “Suffer Well,” “The Things You Said,” and “Shine.” Happy listening!