From the talented author of the celebrated novels In the Quiet and Ache comes a poignant and moving book that explores the stories we tell ourselves about our families, and what it means to belong.
Seventeen-year-old Gwendolyn P. Pearson has become very good at not thinking about the awful things that have happened to her family.
She has also become used to people talking about her dead mum. Or not talking about her and just looking at Gwen sympathetically.
And it's easy not to think about awful things when there are wild beaches to run along, best friends Loretta and Gordon to hang out with - and a stepbrother to take revenge on.
But following a strange disturbance at the cafe where she works, Gwen is forced to confront what happened to her family all those years ago. And she slowly comes to realise that people aren't as they first appear and that like her, everyone has a story to tell.
Review by Tanaya Lowden
Poignant, perfect and pretty are just three of the words I could use to describe this book. Poignant, for the writing is elegant and emotive; perfect because the story and characters are portrayed so empathetically; and pretty because look at that gorgeous cover.
P is for Pearl is a lovely story about a girl discovering what it means to belong. 17-year-old Gwen is no stranger to grief, having lost both her mother and brother during her childhood. When a strange disturbance occurs at the cafe she works at, Gwen is forced to confront what happened to her family all those years ago.
This is a heavily character driven novel, and whilst at times this can make a book feel boring, this is far from the truth with P is for Pearl. I was enchanted by the clouded mystery surrounding the deaths of Gwen’s mother and brother. I so desperately wanted to know what had happened to them, and why it was affecting Gwen so much. These revelations were life changing to Gwen, and a pivotal example of how our memories can quite often be very different from the truth.
The characters in this novel were so delightfully written. Even if you have not experienced the level of grief that Gwen has, she was such a relatable character. She was conflicted and uncertain about her future after school, she was content with her hobbies, happy with her friends, she felt misplaced amongst her family, she was questioning her feelings for the boy she liked. All these aspects of Gwen make this novel as much a coming-of-age story as it is a story about dealing with grief.
The relationships Gwen had were so lovely too. The scenes with her half-sister were endearing; those with her step-brother were unexpectedly surprising; the moments with her friends were realistic and genuine; and the parts with the boy Gwen was developing feelings for captured that first love sweetness we all can relate to.
For me though, the true standout in this novel is easily the writing. This story is so lusciously written, with elegant and moving descriptions. The small town community setting in coastal Tasmania was so vividly depicted and brought to life, and I loved how truly Australian this book felt.
P is for Pearl is a moving and stunning contemporary #LoveOzYA release. A definite must read!
About the Author
Eliza Henry Jones was born in Melbourne in 1990. She was a Young Writer-in-Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre in 2012 and was a recipient of a Varuna residential fellowship for 2015. She has qualifications in English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling. She is currently completing honours in creative writing - exploring bushfire trauma - and works in community services. She lives in the Dandenong Ranges with her husband and too many animals.
For Ages: 14+ years old
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 19th February 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 13.8 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.29