Thursday, April 21, 2016
Review: Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Run fast and run far, unless you’re fearless. Unless you’re courageous. I’m not, but I’d like to be.
Pearl Jaeger is seventeen and homeless after drugs, poverty, and addiction unraveled the life she shared with JJ, her formerly glamorous rock star mother.
This moment of happiness is fleeting; someone will take it from me.
When tragedy brings a chance to start over at an elite boarding school, she doesn’t hesitate. Yet the only salvation comes from an art teacher as troubled as Pearl, and she faces the stark reality that what she thought she wanted isn’t straightforward.
I trace the outline of my reflection in a window. I am no more than a replica of my mother. This is not the self-portrait I want to paint.
Through the friendships she forms at school—especially with Grant, a boy who shows Pearl what it means to trust and forgive—she begins to see a path not defined by her past. But when confronted with the decision to be courageous or to take the easy way forged by her mother’s failures, which direction will Pearl choose? ~ Goodreads
Source: Copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Let me begin on a positive note and say that I think the author did an amazing job writing about addiction and consequences, especially how that effects friendships and family relationships. It was brutal, raw and unflinching.
I loved the beginning of the story when Pearl was living with her drug addicted, former rock star, mother. After yet another rock bottom moment for her mom, Pearl’s uncle steps in to give her an opportunity to escape that dead end and dangerous lifestyle. Then as much as moving to the boarding school setting showcased Pearl's struggles better - that's a story I've read before. Especially with all the over the top mean girl cliche's and ooh a troubled boy/kind of insta-love!
Unfortunately, I just couldn't connect with the writing style. It felt overwrought. I guess because Pearl is artistic - as is her love interest – and they just feel and express things bigger – and with metaphors… Pearl and Grant just came off super emo to me. The struggles she was going through felt authentic but the way it was expressed annoyed me.
I also wish there was more with Pearl's uncle (her mom's brother). Maybe even one conversation or fight. He seemed to be thrown in for the sole purpose of having a plausible reason to get Pearl from point A – homeless with mom to point B- expensive boarding school, and explain any financial struggles away.
This book wasn't for me but if you enjoy gritty contemporary YA that has a more literary writing style, filled with metaphors, this might be a better fit for you. And I do recommend it to teens that are struggling with codependency, toxic relationships or drug abuse and need to see that yes, there is a way out of it and things can get better.
It wasn't bad - just not a style I enjoy reading.