Pearl by Jo Knowles
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: Contemporary YA
The Story: 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.
My Review: Bean's life is not exactly an easy one, but she's always had Henry, her best friend, to rely on. She lives with her mom and her grandfather, who get along as well as oil mixes with water. There is always tension in her house and it's really sad for Bean when she gets the call to come home to bad news. Her grandfather has passed away.
After his death, Bean is disturbed to see how happy this makes her mother and her mother's best friend, Claire. She struggles with not knowing the facts about her own father and becomes determined to find out what really happened to tear her family apart. Things become even more interesting when Sally, Henry's mom, actually leaves her house and begins spending time with Bean's mom and Claire. Sally hasn't truly been out and about in the community since her husband, Henry's father, left years ago. She's obese and doesn't take very good care of herself but she seems to come alive in the company of Bean's mom.
There are twists and turns in this book that kept me guessing and wondering what would happen next. It was well written and emotional. As Bean learns the truth about her family, it's clear that even when families are as messed up as hers, there is still love there. Everyone makes mistakes and it's what you do afterward that matters. I really enjoyed this book.