Title: The Pearl
Author: Geoffrey Knight
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Young Adult, interracial
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: 6,500 words (38 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Summary Review: A sweet young adult romance between two innocent boys who became men when they fell in love, with each other.
The Top End of Australia—a tropical paradise filled with beauty. Wonder. Danger.
For two young boys growing up, the remote beaches and aqua waters of the Northern Territory provide a playground of adventure. So it is for half-Aboriginal Jarrah Yindi and his best friend Luke Lawson, who spend their summers diving for pearls and dodging Old Salty, a man-eating crocodile, under the stormy summer skies of Darwin.
And as the boys grow older, their friendship gradually becomes a need to be together, and slowly something more blossoms.
But for two teenage boys, falling in love is very different to understanding love.
As they teeter on the brink of manhood, as life beyond school looms like a summer storm—at once exciting and terrifying—will life tear the two friends apart?
Or will love keep them together forever?
My initial thoughts when I finished this book were how beautiful the prose and language were, and what a wonderful writer Geoff Knight is as he gave readers two characters to savour. This is how the the first chapter of The Pearl began –
He placed it in my palm—and the whole world fell away. I was caught in the shimmer of its flawless surface. The faint spill of color, the swirls of pink and hints of blue, like a supernova in my hand. As though for that moment—that miracle of a moment—the entire universe was shining in the palm of my hand. I had it all. Beautiful. Precious. Unique. Fleeting
This story is told in the first person by Jarrah Yindi, a half aboriginal boy whose personality was as vibrant as his country. He met blond Luke Lawson for the first time in the school yard when they were 6 years old – they became best friends and were inseparable. Growing up they shared everything, from food to adventures in Jarrah’s canoe looking for the elusive pearl that Luke was dying to find, unless he died first in the jaws of Old Salty the meanest croc in the world.
Jad loved to boast to impress Luke as he told the tallest tales while Luke sat amazed, eating it all up. At twelve years old things started to change between them as Jad wanted Luke to be with him all the time because he was the only person he could talk to. Luke on the other hand was on a quest to find his pearl, and he and Jad would take the canoe out in hopes that Luke’s wish would be fulfilled. Here’s some of the prose –
Luke did grow up fast and so did I. It felt as though our teenage years just ran through our fingers. We had more chance of catching a streak of lightning as it cracked the sky or keeping a wave in a net than we had of holding onto those years.
Other changes took place in their lives, as Luke’s father became very sick, and eventually passed away, leaving Luke all alone in charge of his destiny and his property, and he dropped out of school. Jad was pursuing his dream of being a doctor and studied every moment he was not with Luke, which lately seemed a lot of the time. On his last day of school Luke came back and their romance went into full gear, because they were now adults in the first flush of love and they had to make every moment count as their time together really seemed fleeting.
This was such a short book but despite its length I experienced the Top End of Australia through Jad’s eyes. Here’s how he described Darwin, his home:
I’ve always thought of the Top End of Australia as the true definition of paradise—aqua seas, hot days, starry nights, jade waterfalls, white beaches, canyons carved by none other than the Rainbow Serpent.
In The Pearl Geoff Knight not only writes a beautiful young adult romance but he uses his wonderful imagination to paint such beautiful pictures that you will imagine yourself in the Northern Territories, and you’ll fall in love with both the protagonists and the location.
Jad’s and Luke’s romance continues in The Seventh Wave.