Audio Book Review | Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall

I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Audio Book Review | Pearl by Deirdre Riordan HallPearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: The Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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

Pearl was a random precious find; one that caught my eye because of the cover. Of course, after reading the synopsis I knew it was a Me book; shocking given the fact I don’t read much young adult coming of age but I’m beyond happy that I was able to listen to it. There is so much to love about Pearl and I’m quite shocked it hasn’t gotten a lot of buzz.


Deirdre’s writing is metaphorical, lyrical and just straight up beautiful. I would listen to/read her writing all day long. She flawlessly wrote a realistic situation and didn’t hold back when it came to pain, or the terrible decisions her characters, especially Pearl, made. I love it when an author doesn’t hold back and shows us that not everything is what it seems and challenges us. There was so much emotion packed into the writing, you could feel it. I cried, I laughed, and then I cried some more.


Each character is flawed in Pearl. Pearl obviously, packing the most emotional luggage of the bunch. Growing up with her addicted mom on the streets, she’s lonely, sad and understandably, goes through spouts of anger and hate. She has a problem DEALING with things, and watching her spiral out of control wasn’t easy. Especially given the circumstances. She has so much growth throughout the book and I love the person that she become in the end.


It’s a real, honest portrayal of addiction. Not only in the downward spiral of those with an addiction but how it affects everyone from everyday life. Past, present and future. How it molds an individual and shapes your life. And how painful and devastating it is for all parties involved. Not only that but just because you witness someone’s downfall due to addiction doesn’t mean you are 100% safe from that path as well.

Sex & Relationships

While we don’t get graphic scenes, even a lot, to be honest, it was handled in such a real and honest way. It wasn’t a big deal, it was a part of their relationship. Sex aside, each relationship was developed, both good and bad. It’s difficult to see just how good OR toxic someone is in your life until later, and I loved that we get to see Pearl realize that. Those relationships too, mold and shape us to the people we are and want to be.

Peer friendships aside, I loved her relationship with her Art teacher. He comes off gruff, and intense but like Pearl, he has so much beyond the facade and I love how he pushed her to look deeper and find herself. In her art and in life. What he did for her at the end had me ugly crying.


The romance between Pearl and Grant is a slow, aching burn throughout the book. I adored them together, especially since Grant was a strong rock for Pearl, even with his own insecurities and issues. Nothing was easy for them; individually or together, and witnessing them work out their problems was an added bonus.

The Narration

Brittany Pressley nailed the narration. She was able to pack the emotions of Pearl so perfectly. She read the book slow, making a 350-page book over 12 hours long, which would normally irritate me but didn’t with Pearl. There were also a lot of different accents that she imitated perfectly and even nailed the deranged and drugged out JJ. She brought the story to life.


If you couldn’t guess – I loved it. Pearl is such a beautifully written book; one that will hold a special place in my heart. It’s sad yet uplifting, and I’m glad I was able to experience Pearl’s journey. I highly recommend it – but do be caution, there is heavy drug and alcohol use.





Tell me your thoughts

  • Have you read Pearl? If so, what did you think? 
  • If not, does it sound like something you’d enjoy?

4 thoughts on “Audio Book Review | Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall

  1. Braine

    The cover is indeed pretty, it’s a lot like the design on your blog actually.

    I haven’t heard of her before and I can’t resist a lyrical author. This is giving me Ellen Hopkins vibe (minus the poetry), have you read her? Is my feel of this novel on the spot?

    1. tonyalee

      It does a little, doesn’t it? I hadn’t noticed until you said something haha

      I can’t say for sure – because I haven’t read any of her books.

  2. Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

    […] Pearl: I feel like I have been talking about PEARL for forever! It’s such a good book! Heartbreaking & beautiful! […]

Leave a Reply