P is for Pearl by Eliza Henry Jones
HarperCollins, 2018. IBSN 9781460754931
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Themes: Teen romance. Grief. Friendship. Mental illness. Family. In a small coastal country town lives 17-year-old Gwendolyn P. Pearson, a young lady who is still struggling with the sudden death of her young brother and her mother that occurred several years ago. She lives with her stepmother, older stepbrother, Tyrone, younger half-sister, Evie, and her dad who refuses to talk about her mother, and is too distant to ever hold a proper conversation with her. After an incident at the cafe where Gwen works with her best friend Loretta, Gwen is left flooded with memories of her mother's and brother's death. She tries to piece scattered memories of her mother together and grasp onto the fading memories of her brother and this leaves Gwen unsettled and full of sleepless nights. She tries to gain clarity by running along the beach but all she can do is remember the stories her mother told her, about mermaids existing and the white caps in the water being mermaids. Now whenever she sees the whitecaps she longs to believe it's her brother and mother waiting to see her again one day even though that is too good to be true. However, when two new city kids, Ben and his twin sister Amber, move into town things within their high school change causing minor disturbances, revelations and possible romance.
P is for Pearl is a slow paced novel; the type of book you can pick up, read a few chapters of, put down and read another book then come back to it, remembering where you left off. This novel would suit slow but persistent readers, that enjoy semi depressing novels. Similar books to P is for Pearl would be Girl in pieces by Kathleen Glasgow and Small spaces by Sarah Epstein.
Emily V. (Student)