Review of The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

A few years ago I read for review Code Name Verity. I loved this book, and even though it was meant for young adults, I was spellbound by it and felt a huge sense of loss when it ended. It was one of “those” books that come along every so often and just hold you captive.

So I was excited to see that there was a prequel written by the author- The Pearl Thief. With the promise of letting the reader learn more about Julie from Code Name Verity, the book grabbed my attention. So I picked it up for review.
Review of The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

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From the Book’s Description

Before Verity . . . there was Julie.

When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she’d imagined won’t be exactly what she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather’s estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister, Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she witnesses firsthand some of the prejudices they’ve grown used to-a stark contrast to her own upbringing-and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

This exhilarating coming-of-age story, a prequel to the Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, returns to a beloved character just before she first takes flight.

My Thoughts

Having read Code Name Verity by the author, I was super excited for The Pearl Thief. I enjoyed the book but didn’t like it quite as much as Code Name Verity.
The characters were well-developed, and the storyline was interesting. Although the main characters are younger, I enjoyed the book as an adult. Julie is a very compelling character, and it was especially interesting to learn more about her before World War 2, before Code Name Verity.
There was a mystery/suspense story with several definite twists. But it’s also a coming of age book in a way because the summer in which these events take place marks a change from girlhood to young adult for Julie.
This is a read I really enjoyed and would thoroughly recommend. I give it four stars and a PG rating for content. (There is a hint of homosexuality, but there isn’t really any description that would be inappropriate for young adult readers.) You can find the book on Amazon here.

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