Publisher’s Blurb:

About the Book

– Gabrielle Tozer, award-winning author of The Intern, Faking It and Remind Me How This Ends

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.

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.


P is for Pearl is a complex, authentic exploration of grief, friendship, mental illness, family and love, sensitively written by a writer whose voice will resonate with teen readers.’ Books+Publishing

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781460754931
  • ISBN 10: 146075493X
  • Imprint: HarperCollins – AU
  • On Sale: 19/02/2018
  • Pages: 304
  • List Price: 19.99 AUD
  • Age: From 14 years
  • BISAC1: Children’s, Teenage & educational / General fiction (Children’s – Teenage)

P is for Pearl is the tender-hearted story of seventeen-year-old Gwen growing up in regional Tasmania. An incident at the local coffee chop where Gwen works with her best friend, Loretta sends Gwen spinning into the realms of grief. The story follows the aftermath of the incident and Gwen’s acceptance of the death of her mother and brother some years past.

Life becomes more complicated when two strangers come to town. Handsome Ben and his troubled sister, Amber descend upon the town causing a flurry of excitement within the school community. Not least of all, Gwen who finds herself thinking more and more about Handsome Ben.

Threaded throughout the story are examples of positive teen relationships from the relationship of Gwen with her siblings, to the friendship she enjoys with her close friends, and my favourite of all, the intergenerational relationship Gwen enjoys with local police sergeant, Martin. Family relationships are also explored throughout, and Gwen’s father’s remarriage causes tension throughout the book.

Henry-Jones has used her setting of a wild, isolated coastal town to perfection. The town with its wild and violent ocean adds a strong element of atmosphere as well foreshadowing events and memories from the past.

The narrative is interspersed with diary entries by Gwen.

P is for Pearl explores themes of grief, friendship, and mental health and illness, and interestingly, the story was first written by Henry-Jones in her teens.

Although this book has been marketed to YA readers, I believe it would better suit younger teens and higher middle-grade readers.


My thanks to Harper Collins Publishers and NetGalley for a copy to read and review.