19 July 2011

Title: Pearl
Author: Jo Knowles
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., 224 Pages (July 19th 2011)
From: the Publisher, Thank You!

Synopsis: 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.

Review: 4 Stars - Author Jo Knowles new title Pearl is an emotional journey from a teen girls point of view. It’s about dysfunctional families and growing. It’s about finding out who you are while learning where you come from.

Pearl aka Bean and Henry both come from highly dysfunctional families. They are each others only friends and it’s during one fateful summer the two go looking for answers that Bean has been asking about for years. When a sudden death in the family brings all the questions to the surface, Bean and Henry will stop at nothing until they know the truth. It’s up to her mother to come clean and Bean won’t stop until she knows what happened between her mother and her grandfather and finally, who her father is.

Henry has his own set of troubles at home and the two are there for each other when no one else was around and when they each needed someone the most. The two are both heart warming and heart breaking as they face being a teen with all the extra crud piled on top of the two within their respective home lives. Since they have known each other from a young age, they’ve grown up together and have witnessed first hand what the other goes through day in and day out.

The relationships between all the characters were bumpy but also the core of the story. I felt for both Bean and Henry and my heart often broke for each of them. I could easily put myself in either of their shoes as Knowles writing made these young adult characters real and honest throughout the major uphill battles they each faced.

Their mothers on the other hand were the root of all the issues that the two had to wade through during their search for Beans truth that I found myself shaking my head and wondering how on earth two adults could be so totally blind to what their kids were going through? It’s a sad reality in that so many kids have to face a vast number of challenges other than just what it means to be a kid. Truly, I was ready to smack the adults in this one a couple of times, let me tell you!

All in all, Pearl was a quick read with two young characters you’ll feel for and some adults you’ll want to scream at. I enjoyed Bean and Henry’s friendship and was happy that the plot wasn’t focused on them falling in love. Their true, honest and deep friendship came blazing through and was the driving force in making this a title I enjoyed. If you are a fan of contemporary YA titles then you won’t want to pass up this latest book from Jo Knowles. Happy reading!

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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