Author: Jo Knowles
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Read Time: 2 day
Rating (1-5): 4
Tag Words: Death, small towns, life long friends, falling in love, Fathers who have abandoned their families, homosexuality, coming of age, accepting reality, learning secrets
Pearl AKA Bean lives with her mother, Lexie and her grandfather, Gus, but spends most days with her best friend Henry and his mother, Sally, who hasn’t left the house since Henry’s father left them when he was a baby.
Pearl’s own father is a mystery, as is the nature of her conception. When Gus dies all those secrets begin to spill out and will change both Pearl and Henry’s lives forever.
I really liked the writing, this happened to be the first book of Knowles I had read, however both of her previous books are on my wishlist. I will be going back for more.
The story is a very modern twist on a classic grieving and secrets story, but because it is so well written you become invested in the characters and seeing them through to the end of their journey.
The read is a short one, I wanted more, actually, because I wanted to know exactly what happened between Lexie and her deceased mother, that was one relationship I never made heads or tails of. I also wanted more for Henry and Pearl, they have seen so much together, and they have such similar backgrounds, I wanted to know if that was a foundation for a first love, or a forever love. Sally was one character’s story that was hit on with perfect precision; I felt her grief and pain as she worked through her own secret sadness from all the years spent on her couch waiting for her husband to come home.
I really could “see” the characters, which only made their little traditions that much more icky. I’m laughing as I write this, because this pet-peeve is so silly, but I love (for literary reasons) and hate (for personal reasons) when characters develop ticks, because I either take them on, or begin to worry about the same things. Henry’s sweat aversion and Pearl’s slurping off the chocolate on frozen Snickers after melting it in coffee really began to sicken me. Silly, but true.
Notes on the Names: Classic and gorgeous, I will Pearl could have always gone by Pearl, because, hello, how pretty, but I did like the journey she went on to become a Pearl. Henry surprised me, given Sally’s affinity for Soap’s I would have thought his name would have been much more dramatic, and maybe a bit trendy.
Thoughts on the Cover: Does it bother no one else that this is the Matched cover and format, only with a different picture inside the orb, which happens to be a pearl here? It bothers me, format is different than using the same model.
Parental Book Review *spoliers*
Sexual Content: Lexie, Pearl’s mother, does some what crudely describe her relationship with Bill, Pearl’s father.
Lexie is discovered to be a Lesbian with her friend Claire, there is a scene towards the end where Pearl nearly comes in on them while they are in bed.
Mild to Moderate
Mild to Moderate
Other Notables: All five main characters engage in drinking liquor frequently; the mothers never notice that Pearl and Henry always join in.