From The Publisher's Website:
The summer of 1978, ten-year-old Vicki Anderson rides her bike to the local park and goes missing. Her tight-knit blue-collar Pennsylvania neighborhood, where children roam the streets at night playing lightning tag, aboveground pools sparkle in backyards, and flowers scent the air, will never be the same.
Down the street from Vicki’s house, another family is in crisis. Troubled by her past, headstrong Natalia Kisch has abandoned her husband and two daughters for another man. Frank Kisch, grappling with his anger, is left to raise their girls alone, oblivious to his daughters’ struggles with both disappearances: Eva, seventeen, plunges into an affair with her married high school teacher, and nine-year-old Sissy escapes to a world of imagination and storytelling that becomes so magical it pierces the reality of the everyday.
When Natalia unexpectedly returns, the struggles and tensions that have built over the summer erupt into a series of events that change the Kisches irrevocably—forcing them to piece together their complicated pasts and commitments to each other.
In this haunting, atmospheric debut, Sandra Novack examines loss, loyalty, and a family in crisis. Lyrical and elegiac, Precious illuminates our attempts to make sense of the volatility that surrounds and consumes us, and explores our ability, even during the most trying times, to remember and hold on to those we love most.
Precious is a portrait of a family, a family going through one of the toughest years of their existence. When the mother Natalia leaves her husband and daughters behind for something new, something with a new man they are left to pick up the pieces of their broken family. When summer arrives the girls are left home to fend for themselves and the older sister Eva takes off most days leaving Sissy to do anything she wants anywhere. Not the best idea when recently another neighborhood girl has gone missing.
I found Precious to be very haunting and heavy. While I did expect that I had hoped for it to let up at least a few more points than it did. I would have liked just a bit of humor or lightness somewhere just to lighten the mood if only slightly. There was one lighter passage that comes to mind though that I really liked, when Natalia and her husband Frank are going for a ride in his car. She remembers back to when they first met and started dating. I really found that passage very sweet. I also really liked some of the imagery described when the circus comes to town. I felt like I was there!
For me it was much easier to identify with the children, Eva and Sissy. I liked reading about Eva and how she was dealing with her broken family. It was interesting to see why she was in the relationship with her teacher and why he was in it with her. I liked that this book was told from the different characters perspectives. Seeing the different sides to the stories. Like others have said, a lot of times I felt worried for Sissy. Left to take care of herself for the better part of a day, who knows what could happen to her. Her imagination was so real to her I felt like it could have been the end of her a few times.
All in all an interesting look at a broken family trying to pick up the pieces that I know will appeal to a lot of readers out there.
Precious was released on February 17th.
Review copy provided by author for blog tour
Visit author Sandra Novack's website here. You can read an excerpt of the book here and also view the rest of the TLC tour stops here.