Book Review: Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

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An obsessive power struggle between an editor and her millennial intern turns dangerous in this debut psychological thriller–for readers of Luckiest Girl Alive and You.

As unsettling as it is provocative, Precious You cuts to heart of questions surrounding modern female rivalry, obsession and deceit. Helen Monks Takhar delivers an explosive take on the contemporary workplace and the disparate generations that power it, turning the professional roles women play on their heads in a razor-sharp, revenge-driven thriller for our age.

 

This review appears on The Nerd Daily as well. Many thanks to them and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this.

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Precious You focuses on Katherine, an experienced editor who had recently returned to work after taking a break because of mental health issues and upon her return, she has to face a new management. Besides her worries about not being able to impress her new boss, she also becomes concerned about Lily—the young, vibrant, and creative intern who is always one step ahead of her. Lily seems to possess everything Katherine wants, everything that she is lacking in and also seems to try to sabotage her and undermine her power every chance she gets. Instead of avoiding her and not getting into a game of cat and mouse, Katherine is too intrigued and lonely to resist the possibility of getting closer to this younger version of herself. Soon, they become involved in some very twisted mind games that will change both of their lives forever.

The novel provides a great analysis into the generational gap between millennials and Gen X, highlighting those intergenerational differences and how they become essential in the power struggle between Katherine and Lily. Katherine, who’s a part of the Gen X, sees Lily as oversensitive, someone who’s taking things way too seriously all the time, who’s obsessed with social media and thinks she can do anything and everything no matter how competent she is for the job. Basically, she complains about Lily being a snowflake ‘with all her triggers’ and desire to do things properly. While Lily thinks Katherine is ungrateful and unaware of how easier her life had been. Furthermore, she mentions that Gen X had a lot to gain from the power imbalance between them and the millennials and because of that, they’ve tried to maintain it with unpaid internships, inadequate sexual relationships in the workplace and so on.

Besides that, the feminist aspects are very complex and well discussed—the power play between the two women is widely based on the fact that Katherine is no longer as young and as attractive as Lily. She’s very insecure about that and the way she sees it—when you are in your twenties, you have the attention of men, they favour you, they will listen to your ideas, but as soon as you get to your thirties or fourties, you do not interest them anymore, your beauty is no longer an asset that can help you advance in your career. This is a problem because men usually wield the power and they are the ones who bestow it on whoever they see fit—usually someone shinier and younger that comes forward. I loved how it was mentioned that women don’t support each other enough when it comes to this, that they should fight more for objective criteria instead of being content with getting the advantages that come with youth and beauty.

This book is everything you expect upon reading the blurb and yet so much more than that, sadly it had quite a few shocking moments that didn’t work for me. I would say the psychological aspects were very well-done. I was constantly trying to predict who’s going to win, how they are going to hurt each other next, who has the upper hand and how they are going to use it – but there were a few plot-lines that seemed a bit far-fetched and mostly present to add to the shock value. Katherine made some very frustrating decisions as well, she is so intelligent and has been working in a highly competitive work environment for 20 years, I was expecting her not to get caught up in so many of Lily’s games and learn to predict her behaviour sooner than she did. Even so, this fast-paced psychological thriller was enjoyable and constantly kept me on the edge, its strengths surpassing its weaknesses by far.

All in all, this is an exceptional debut due to its strong female characters and thrilling conflicts, while touching on important subjects such as feminism and workplace dynamics. The writing was impressive and I adored the way the author weaved the plot-lines so effortlessly and in such ways that you couldn’t stop reading until you knew how everything will go down. The structure is also very intriguing with diary entries for Lily while Katherine addresses Lily directly in her point of view, which feels very intimate and meaningful to their connection. The dynamics between these two women are very complex and I don’t believe I will forget these characters, nor their story anytime soon. The story is absolutely haunting and you should definitely add it to your to be read pile if you like amoral characters and being kept in the dark until the very end.

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Have you read Precious You? 

Do you enjoy books with complex female relationships? Have you read other books that focus on rivalries between women?

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar

  1. NeriSiren says:

    Yikes! Sounds like an important story, but way too stressful for me, and I’m definitely bugged by stories in which characters conveniently forget their common sense just so the author can drag out the drama.

    Like

  2. ceridwensilverhart says:

    I’m glad to see this book takes a complex look at female dynamics. I’m also curious about the Gen X portrayal. I haven’t known many people who I knew were Gen X, so I’m not as familiar with the associations as I am with Millennials and Baby Boomers.

    Like

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