Book Lover (Burlingame, CA)
I could not put this book down once I started it. The author did a fantastic job of keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat. If you enjoyed Sister by Rosamund Lupton you will love this book!
Robin W. (Marinette, WI)
Ms. McBeth has a strong future ahead of her. Her characters and their relationships were well developed and compelling. I found myself identifying and cheering for with the narrator. My only complaint was with the pacing of the book - it felt a little choppy.
Mary Beth S. (Mequon, WI)
Precious Things by Colette McBeth grabs you at the onset and doesn't let you go at the end. McBeth draws you into the story and makes you care about the characters, only to have this empathy flipped over and over as you delve further into the book. Plot lines that you are certain you have solved take credible twists and turns that you cannot see coming. Reminiscent of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Precious Things is a very satisfying read that would provide great discussions for book clubs.
Stephanie M. (Westerville, OH)
Crime Reporter Turned Novelist
Colette McBeth was a crime reporter for BBC TV. Her ability to describe a crime scene, the relationships between reporters and police, and a criminal thought pattern make her first novel, PRECIOUS THING, readable. If you like light thrillers or stories about highly dysfunctional relationships, give this novel a try.
While I appreciate McBeth's first effort and hope she'll continue writing, there are several reasons I would not generally recommend this book. The plot is predictable and instead of writing flashbacks into the story, the author makes use of datelines. The narrator, Rachel, starts out as a strong character but becomes whiney and unlikeable. The telling of the story is for the benefit of the antagonist, Clara, instead of the audience so Rachel spends pages telling about her friendship and love of Clara without really showing us much of their friendship.
The reader never gets a full view of Rachel's relationship with her mother although we are told enough about it to get the idea of the level of dysfunction. The full story of an incident that occurs in the past that has a strong impact on the plot is kept from the reader but we are told enough to understand that impact. The concept of this novel is solid but is left unfulfilled in the construction of the story.
Michelle (Hillsdale, NJ)
You would think from the premise that this book would be exciting - the storyline sounds promising, but the book was very hard to get into. Rachel and Clara become friends in high school; fast forward to years later when Rachel becomes a successful t.v. reporter and learns of the disappearance of Clara. At first, it seems difficult to like Clara - in one instance, Rachel describes how Clara convinces her that they should smash each other's wrists with a rock in order to break them so they don't have to take gym class. If ever one of my friends suggested that, I would run far, far away. However, Rachel actually does it. Throughout the course of the story, Rachel goes back and forth from past to present. It seems Clara is not the nicest person, then as the story goes on... it seems Rachel isn't that nice either. It's very hard to like a story where you don't like either of the main characters! The story gets a little far-fetched (in an unbelievable way) at the end and all in all, it just isn't a very satisfying read.
Eileen L. (Danvers, MA)
Great concept but mediocre read
This book started out with great promise. The premise was so intriguing and initially I was hooked. The twists and turns within the story held a lot of promise and the writer had a wry sense of irony. As the story unfolded, however, the characters seemed to become diluted. I did not "get" or feel the relationship between Rachel and Jake and the dialogue became cliche. It also seemed that the series of events in the last of the book were just confusing rather than suspenseful or clarifying. It seemed to me that the storyline got lost in an effort to create big "Wow" moments. In a nutshell, it was a story of friendship and betrayal that lost character development and then lost direction all together. It is a shame really as it started out strong and I was expecting a great read.
Patricia D. (Woodland Hills, CA)
Is it really friendship?
When Rachel moves into a new town and high school, she is lucky to make friends with Clara, the most popular girl in the class. They promise to be friends forever. Years pass and Rachel has found her own place and career in Brighton. As a news reporter she is called to a press conference about a missing person. This is where the story opens up. The missing person is of course, Clara. The reader is immersed into the story and finds out that friends aren't always what they might be. The story is well-done with only a couple parts that are stretched a little too much to be believable. For example, when Rachel moves into the new town with her drunken mother, little do we know how this family relationship will later involve Clara. This was a little unbelievable. Rachel's personality is sometimes not as we might like it to be. If she is the famous news-reporter, how can she not see where the story is leading, especially with the secrets she knows. When her boyfriend is murdered, her apartment is broken into twice, and she is arrested for the possible murder of Clara, the story loses the strong thread it needs to be rated a 5. If these two girls are really life-long friends, why do they seem to be strangers? I liked trying to guess where the story would take me. I'm not quite sure I liked Rachel in the end. She states that in order to love Clara, she has to learn to hate her. Rachel is a real manipulator as we learn at the conclusion.