I'm not sure how to review Pearl. On one side, I really like this book, as a coming-of-age novel it's wonderfully well written and flows really well. On the other side, I hate it. I find it dull and the plot predictable and the characters stereotypical. So, I will write what I enjoyed about it, as I rated it four stars, which means I did like it a lot.
Pearl is an an engaging character, she's never really had any relationship with her mother and her Grandfather's death really gives her that chance to get closer to her. Pearl is just growing up and her feelings for Henry are no longer that of a playmate, so it's nice reading about her exploring that. Henry's character, for me, however, doesn't really have me interested. He's there, but if he disappeared I don't think I'd actually notice. He's quite a background character.
In a lot of ways this book is really about growing up. As I mentioned, Pearl is growing up and after Gus dies, so is her Mother. Just not in the right way. Her Mother, finally feeling free lets her friend pretty much move in and they do all the stuff that you would expect teenagers to do - pyjama parties, hair dying, you get the idea.
Henry's and Pearl's relationship isn't what you'd expect from seeing the cover. Their relationship is closer to that of a brother and sister, so I'd like to see in a sequel if their relationship can work.
One extra thing I should mention for YA fans - do you look at the cover and think, I know that cover! You should check out Matched by Ally Condie, you might be surprised. Needless to say, Pearl is nothing like Matched.