I was curious to read Pearl’s story: the frenemy who sometimes remembered to be a friend. There were hints that all was not well at home for Pearl and whilst this book is full of the usual laughs and giggles that this series does so well, it also has a dark side as Pearl’s home life is exposed. It is still an easy and enjoyable read but, as with the other books in the series, there is plenty to think about.
This is the fourth book in the Ladybird series and it is Pearl’s story.Pearl had drifted away from her primary school friends, hurting them with her unkindness and bullying. Slowly Bea, Kat and Betty have allowed Pearl back into their group but on the understanding that she stops being mean to others. When Pearl finds herself being upstaged by a new girl at the school, she struggles to be nice. Hoshi is part Japanese, a good singer and dancer and everyone likes her. Pearl likes her too, but she also resents her. As Pearl struggles with how she needs and wants to behave, she is also facing a difficult home life.
This book is different from the other three books in the series – it is slightly darker, reflecting Pearl’s troubled character. In the last three books glimpses of Pearl showed us a girl capable of nastiness and bullying but also capable of kindness and fun. This book shows us her home life, explaining the reasons behind her difficult behaviour and helping the reader understand why Pearl sabotages her friendships almost without being able to help herself. Hoshi’s appearance makes Pearl reevaluate her life and makes some positive and unexpected changes (it also gives insights into pop culture and fashion in Japan that are interesting). Ultimately, though, it is not so much that Pearl transforms from bully to good friend, it is that she remembers, with the help of her friends, how to be a good friend and to take pleasure from it. This is not so much a book about bullying and bullies but about the power of friendship.
The Ladybird Series
Although each book in the series can be read as a stand alone, it is worth reading them in order.
Reviews of these books can be found on the BT&M website here.