Pearl

Pearl
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
July 19, 2011
ISBN
978-0805092073
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Bean (née Pearl) and Henry, misfits and best friends, have the strangest mothers in town. Henry's mom Sally never leaves the house. Bean's mom Lexie, if she is home, is likely nursing a hangover or venting to her friend Claire about Bean's beloved grandfather Gus, the third member of their sunny household.

Gus's death unleashes a host of family secrets that brings them all together. And they threaten to change everything--including Bean's relationship with Henry, her first friend, and who also might turn out to be her first love.

Editor review

1 review
Amazing Tale
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
N/A
Characters
 
N/A
Writing Style
 
5.0
Pearl (Bean) and Henry have been best friends since elementary school. They also have the strangest mothers. Bean is close to her grandfather Gus who isn't too happy with her mother. Then Gus dies and family secrets come out. Bean has to find the strength to confront these secrets even when she knows her life will never be the same.

I really loved this story. I'm a huge fan of Jo Knowles. And this book doesn't disappoint! Both Bean and Henry are flawed and from dysfunctional families. Knowles gives us characters we learn to love.

Bean's best friend Henry has seen her through thick and thin. They both have the strangest mothers in their town. Henry's mother Sally hasn't moved from her spot on the couch since Henry's father left. Her favorite show is Days of Our Life. Bean's mother is never really around and is always fighting with Gus, Bean's grandfather.

When the story unfolds, we feel Bean's pain at losing her beloved grandfather and the anger she feels at how flippant her mother treats it. One example of this happens at the river where they hold an informal funeral to release the ashes of Gus. What happens next is kind of shocking but also one reason why I love this story so much. It shows us a range of emotions Bean goes through, which feel very real.

The revelation that comes not too long after Gus' death is not really surprising nor is how Bean deals with it. She's more upset at her mother for not being honest. Then her mother gives her a diary and tells Bean to read it to understand better what happened. The images here are both powerful and gripping. Bean sees another side of her grandfather but also feels the pain her mother had kept to herself.

This is a moving tale on how a town and people's ignorance can cause tragedy in someone's life. But it's also a tale of hope, redemption, and even forgiveness. For sure a tale that will have you smiling at the end.
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User reviews

1 review
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
3.0(1)
Characters
 
3.0(1)
Writing Style
 
4.0(1)
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It's a bunch of misfits
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
First Impressions: I remember reading Lessons from a Dead Girl when that book was first published and I really enjoyed it. So, when I found out the author was coming out with Pearl, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

First 50 Pages: I struggled a bit through the first 50 pages. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but it was just so slow. 50 pages is a lot though in this book since the entire book just reaches past 200 total pages. Regardless, I was enjoying the characters and the laid back style of writing the author has.

Let me just stop and take a moment to say this is a difficult book to try to review. Why? Because I hate giving out spoilers and for a lengthy review, I would have to spoil this book way more then I want to.

The Plot & Style of Writing: As said before, the author doesn’t mince her words. The style of writing she incorporates is very straight forward and has a relaxed feel to it. This book is no exception from her previous titles. Everything flows very easily.

The plot is quite simple and I hate to say it, but predictable as well. The story centers on Bean and her best friend, Henry, in one setting, their neighborhood. There are multiple, big family mysteries and secrets going on in both households, which is what the book reveals along the way. Unfortunately, I figured most of secrets out about half way through the book. I wish the author had decided to hold back on giving hints throughout the story when she wrote the book. It would have made the ending and final wrap up much more surprising. Although, there was one twist I didn’t see coming regarding Bean and Henry’s fathers.

Characters: Bean and Henry have this really amazing relationship with one another and it is sweet to see them blossom in this book. They have this incredible bond of friendship and it was touching to see how Henry was always there for Bean when she needed him the most. Even though Bean is the central character and pushed the story along, the character I thought was the most interesting was Henry’s mother. As a reader, I felt more sympathy towards her character then I did for the children. Bean’s mother is quite the character as well. To say she is a horrible mother is a bit drastic, but she does lack in the whole motherhood department for most of the book.

I wish the author would have advanced Bean and Henry’s relationship just a bit more. Their romance could have been better developed then it was. It would have been nice to have seen Bean’s feeling progress for Henry. Her feelings seemed so sudden to me.

What I really love about Henry is that he isn’t your typical hot guy. He is a shy, slightly overweight loner type. So many books always make the main character’s love interest out to be this perfect guy every young girl would want to date. That isn’t the case here, which is so unique and I love it.

Final Thoughts: This book started out slow and was predictable, but was still a really good read. I really enjoy the author’s style of writing and the characters in this book are great. If you are looking for a heavy theme or heavy romance, this isn’t the book for you. There are some interesting and unexpected twists that kept me reading and I look forward to reading more books from this author.
Good Points
unique characters
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