Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
First of all, look at that GORGEOUS cover. It's ethereal, light, and absolutely stunning. It's just as beautiful in person, with a soft matte cover.
Just for the record, contemporary is NOT my genre. That being said, I had a bit of trouble with this one.
The pacing is a bit slow, and there are details that are picked up and abandoned throughout the story. She is injured, but her injury is forgotten most of the time as she chain smokes cigarettes and pot.
Personality-wise I found Pearl to be a bit bland. She had interests, sure, but she never seemed to do anything that she wanted to. Everything she did was a reaction to something that happened to her or something that another character wanted. She never stood up for herself, against bitchy preppy rich girls who are out to get her (*rolls eyes*) or even to her so-called best friend, who was just as toxic as the mean girl.
Her art was the only truly unique thing about her, and her unlikely friendship with her reclusive art teacher was one of the best parts of the book.
I found the relationship between Grant and Pearl to be mostly annoying. It's a terrible decision to get a tattoo of someone's face on your body, especially one that you met in high school. I rolled my eyes at just about every romantic scene in this book, just because the lines were a bit cliched and the romance just too over the top. Then again, I remember what I was like in high school. It made me feel embarrassed more than anything. I don't expect for all readers to feel this way, however. I tend to shy away from romance in books and this wasn't subtle at all. Speaking of tattoos, I loved Pearl's tattoo. I can see fans of this book getting a similar one because it's so beautifully described.
Pearl's reaction to loss was understandable, but there were times I was screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU STUPID GIRL??" at this book. The decisions she made during her summer at Parsons seemed incredibly out of character for someone with the history that she has. I liked Kiki's character a lot, and I appreciate that Pearl didn't blame her for her decisions.
My favorite part of this novel was the ending. The development of her friendship with Charmindy was the most healthy relationship in the entire novel, and the theme of forgiveness was a beautiful, sentimental way to end the book.
Overall, I didn't hate this book, but I didn't really like it either. I'd recommend it to people who are fans of contemporary YA romance, stories about artistic girls, and lovers of the coming-of-age story.