Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall (audio book)
Published by Brilliance Audio
Performed by Brittany Pressley
My rating: 4.5/5
Spoiler free review : )
Thank you so much Deirdre Riordan Hall for sending me a copy of this incredibly touching and important novel.
Pearl Jaeger is the daughter of a “has been” rock star, Janet Jaeger, who spends all of her time thinking about where she will get her next drug fix. Throughout Pearl’s life she has been carted along to various locations and she has ridden the rollercoaster that is her mother’s life until one day her mother takes it too far causing an accident at a shelter. Pearl’s uncle gets involved and Pearl is taken away to a boarding school where she starts her new life. At this school she meets new friends, foes, a tough art teacher, and a guy that sparks her interest. Pearl must learn to navigate her new life and figure out how she wants her future to look. Should she follow the path that her mother carved out for her or should she break free from the cycle and learn to forgive those around her and herself.
“The only way out is through”
Let me start this off with commending the author for the incredible writing. I have never been more immersed in a story like this. The metaphors and description used created such an atmosphere that I knew this book was going to be one for the records! It definitely makes me add another novel of Deirdre Riordan Hall, Sugar, to my “to buy” list!
Another note, I so adored the cover art of this book. I mean look at it. It is gorgeous and every time I look at the cover I can not help but exclaim about the colors and textures and ahhhhhhhhhhh
Now, on to the story. I am not going to lie, through most of this book, the main character, Pearl, aggravated me to no end. I am not well versed in the scene of drugs and parties so I could not relate with what she was feeling and the choices she was making. With that being said, I understand that Pearl’s situation would lead to her to the dark places she entered and that she needed to go through this in order to reach a place where she understands herself and her future. Pearl is a very broken character and she needed to see the darkest parts of herself and understand what her mom was feeling and doing in order to find who she wanted to be and to develop into a smart and artistic person. The character development of Pearl was one of the best I have read in YA. It was believable and raw.
There is a strong theme of forgiveness in this novel. Pearl has spent the majority of her 18 years being blamed for everything that went wrong in her mother’s life. When she escaped from her mother she still held on to that burden causing her to feel alienated from her fellow classmates. She does not allow herself to get close to anyone because she does not know how to love or be loved and she does not want to be hurt like she often was throughout her life. When she finally allows herself to accept being accepted by her friends and Grant she can look forward to her future and take steps toward her better self.
Grant came along at a time when Pearl had nothing and he gave her a little bit of something, a little bit of hope. Grant taught Pearl how to love and how to accept love. I personally don’t think Pearl could have made such a huge difference in her own life without the constant presence of Grant. Even when they were not together he was always on her mind. Grant also gives Pearl the stability she has been craving. He is one of the first people that makes Pearl feel safe.
It seemed as though there was a constant struggle for Pearl between following the path of her mother and following her own heart and making a better future for herself. I think this manifested itself in her thoughts through Grant and her mother. When Pearl was making good decisions and bad decisions she often felt a struggle between thoughts of Grant and thoughts of her mother.
Pearl is a work in progress and through her friends and loved ones she is able to make steps toward becoming the person she wants to be.
Because I loved this book so much I decided to do something new and give some of my favorite short quotes from the novel.
“Losing myself in the motion of creating stillness.”- Chapter 7
“The little planets that make up my personal inner universe stop spinning.”- Chapter 10
“I’m tainted, stained.”- Chapter 17
“The only way out is through.”- Chapter 47
“No one has ever wanted me for me.”- Chapter 48
“I forgive you”- Chapter 49
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I am still relatively new to reviewing books so if there is anything I could do differently or anything you liked about his please let me know in the comments.
Have a fantastic rest of your week! 🙂