Pearl, Deirdre Riordan Hall

Netgalley copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Blurb

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?

My Thoughts 

Meet Pearl. She’s the kind of girl I wish I could step into a book and give a big hug. She feels like a lost star in the void of a massive constellation, and I don’t exactly know where to start.

Pearl is the daughter of a former rock star who has been more addicted to drugs than to any form of music for as long as she was alive. Her mother’s lifestyle ensures that Pearl doesn’t go to school frequently and doesn’t have much in terms of belongings and home. 

One day, Janet (her mom) goes one step too far and almost burn down to ashed the shelter they live in, not coming far to killing her own daughter in the process, and Pearl’s uncle decides to send her to a private school, for her own good. 

But is it?

As she starts a new life (her life), Pearl faces new challenges and new people.

But she also has to face herself.

Pearl is a very important character, in my opinion. She is strong but fragile, fierce but vulnerable, and she is a true artist. The way Deirdre Riordan Hall describes everything through her eyes feels genuine and almost painful, in a way. 

I loved the metaphors that go through the whole story: stars, art, paint. The world feels like a chaotic painting, and that’s as tragic as beautiful.

The characters the author created are beautifully flawed and they can’t leave you unmoved - I believe this book is bound to make you feel something, which is a very good quality.

Pearl is a journey through the darkness. But what will be waiting for our young friend on the other side?

Be sure to check it out, because it’s worth it!!

Selected quotes 

  • “I don’t know what my story is.”
  • “Creativity takes courage.”
  • “What color is your blood?”




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