As part of the promotional tour through Teen Book Scene, I have a brief excerpt from Jo Knowles's young adult novel PEARL to share with you today. PEARL releases tomorrow (July 19th) and you can read my review HERE. Enjoy!
When we get to the paint-chipped front steps of my house, Henry moves closer to me. I can smell his deodorant and the fabric softener Sally uses because she likes the little teddy bear on the ads. I move closer too, so that our arms touch.
Being close to Henry has always made me feel safe. Ever since I met him at the MiniMart on the corner of our street. I was there to buy my mom some ginger-ale for her hangover and get myself a treat with the change. Henry was buying his mom Soap Digest and some Suzie Q’s. We were seven and it was July. Sally said later this was a sign, us being seven and meeting in the seventh month. She said we were meant to be friends forever.
That first day, Henry and I stepped out of the MiniMart together and began to walk back home, side by side.
“What’s your name?” he asked shyly.
“Bean,” I said. At school, everyone called me by my real name, Pearl. But right away, I knew Henry wasn’t like everyone else.
“Bean. As in the vegetable?”
“Actually, it’s a legume.”
He gave me a weird look. I just shrugged. I knew it was a stupid name, but it’s what I’d always been. My mom said she named me Pearl because I was her unexpected gem. But I don’t think pearls are actually gems. And I don’t think I’m one, either. Gus said the first time he held me, I felt soft and squishy like a bean, not hard and cold like a pearl. But I personally believed the real reason he wouldn’t call me Pearl was for the simple reason that it was the name my mom chose.
PEARL (from Goodreads)
Bean (née Pearl) and Henry, misfits and best friends, have the strangest mothers in town. Henry’s mom Sally never leaves the house. Bean’s mom Lexie, if she is home, is likely nursing a hangover or venting to her friend Claire about Bean’s beloved grandfather Gus, the third member of their sunny household.
Gus’s death unleashes a host of family secrets that brings them all together. And they threaten to change everything—including Bean’s relationship with Henry, her first friend, and who also might turn out to be her first love.