Google+ Reading Teen: Pearl by Jo Knowles

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pearl by Jo Knowles

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (July 19, 2011)
Buy the book:  Amazon

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.
I'll start out by saying that this isn't really my type of book.  I don't read a lot of contemporary, especially books that deal with issues, because, frankly, they depress me.  And this book definitely had a sad tone to it, but it was also very sweet.  I quickly read through the 224 pages, eager to find out how Bean (Pearl), Henry, Sally, and Lexie would resolve the years of tension, heartache, lies, betrayals, and shattered dreams.

Jo Knowles is a fantastic writer who makes you really feel the story.  My heart ached for Bean.  And I could almost feel the hot, humid temperatures of this "stuck town" in the middle of the city.  Would you know what I meant if I said it reminded me of My Girl, or Fried Green Tomatoes?  Even though this story didn't take place in the country, the town almost had a old, country feel to it.  I think this was helped along by the names Pearl (Bean) and Henry. 

I really loved Bean and Henry.  They were just so sweet together.  They did seem (to me) like they were younger than they were supposed to be, maybe 13 or 14.  The way that they were with each other, and the way that they responded to things, just didn't seem like they were 15.  But they really were so endearing.  There isn't much in the way of romance (though there is some), but it is huge when it comes to friendship, and the love of family.

If you enjoy contemporary reads that deal with families, friendship, love and loss, I think you will love Pearl.

  • Sexual Content:  Mild/Moderate
  • Profanity:  Moderate
  • Violence:  Mild
  • Other Notables:  Underage drinking
For more details, check out Pearl on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. Thanks for the honest review. Like you, this book doesn't really sound like my thing but I might check it out.

  2. Wow, that cover looks weirdly like the cover for Ally Condie's Matched.

  3. Great review! I, too, thought it was a really sweet story.

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