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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Precious One

1. Taisy is summoned to visit with her estranged father, Wilson, and charged with writing his autobiography. Were you surprised with her decision to stay and do the project? Do you think it was more for her own benefit than for Wilson’s?

2. Taisy refers to her half-sister, Willow, as “the precious one” early on in the novel. Why do you think the author chose that as the title? 

3. Willow has been home-schooled her entire life and is now beginning to attend the local high school. How does this sheltered existence inform her character? What are your thoughts on home-schooling?

4. There are many storylines going on within THE PRECIOUS ONE. Did having the story told from two points of view help you to know the characters more fully?

5. When Wilson reveals his horrible upbringing, it’s quite a surprise to everyone. Do you think that should excuse his past behavior?

6. In proposing the book project to Taisy, Wilson reflects on his recent heart attack: “It causes one to look at one’s life in a way that one has perhaps not looked at it before.” Do you think he had ulterior motives in asking Taisy to be his ghostwriter?

7. Taisy’s twin brother, Marcus, still maintains strong feelings about their estranged father. His “anger stayed red-hot for years before it cooled to something hard and shiny and black.” Why do you think it was harder to forgive for Marcus than for Taisy?

8. Caro seems to be encouraging of Taisy being around. Why do you think she didn’t try to reach out before? Do you think it’s because she was another woman under his powerful sway? Why do you think Wilson has such a hold over the people in his life? 

9. In addition to navigating the treacherous waters of high school for the first time, Willow also experiences attention from certain men and boys. Do you think Willow handled herself well in relation to the Mr. Insley situation? How could she have handled it differently? Were you surprised when Luka revealed his small part in it?

10. Even after realizing her teacher’s attention was inappropriate, Willow still tries to understand Mr. Insley: “It could break your heart: people becoming, in the blink of an eye, so dreadfully human.” Can you recall a situation where someone disappointed you with his or her faults or human frailties?

11. Were you surprised about Ben’s reticence about getting back into a relationship with Taisy? Do you think she had any choice to do things differently back when they were teenagers? 

12. Was there one storyline that grabbed you more than another, and why? Why do you think complicated family stories are so riveting to read?

13. Have you read any of Marisa de los Santos’ novels? After now reading THE PRECIOUS ONE, are you intrigued to read her other titles?

The Precious One
by Marisa de los Santos

  • Publication Date: December 1, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 006167091X
  • ISBN-13: 9780061670916