A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lots of interesting detail about pre-WWII Scotland, archaeology, the Traveler culture and its historic roots, the poetry of Robert Burns, Macbeth, Kidnapped, French language and literature, and more. Also a subtle reference to the Lord Peter Wimsey stories.
Consider how your actions affect other people. Friendship; loyalty; kindness. Make things right when they've gone wrong. Love of roots and family.
Positive Role Models
Teen and adult characters are complicated, conflicted, and believably flawed, though most of them are doing their best to do the right thing, whatever the circumstances.
Violence & Scariness
Teen character bashed over the head by unknown assailant; some speculation as to whether she was raped while unconscious (she wasn't). Mysterious disappearance, dismembered corpse. Also, teen fights off unwanted advances by adult character before friend comes to the rescue with a shotgun and shoots assailant in the (kilted) butt. Policeman beats and abuses Traveler characters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen narrator flirts with and kisses adult men and teen girls, sometimes intensely. Lots of physical closeness but no sex. Teen and adult characters have romantic relationships.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen and adult characters occasionally drink alcohol and smoke tobacco.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Pearl Thief, prequel to Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, is an origin-story/coming-of-age tale narrated by the future "Queenie," Scottish aristocrat Julia Beaufort-Stuart. Set in 1938, the summer Julia turns 16, it's less dark than the harrowing Code Name Verity, but there's plenty of edgy behavior and risk-taking, from sleuthing to dangerous flirtation with adult men and romance with another girl. The story's packed with historic detail, literary references, issues of social injustice (especially violence and discrimination against Travelers), gorgeous descriptions of Scotland, and unforgettable characters learning a lot about the world and themselves. Violence includes a dismembered corpse, a teen bashed over the head by an unknown assailant, and a teen who fights off unwanted advances by an adult character before her friend comes to the rescue with a shotgun and shoots assailant in the (kilted) butt.
Is It Any Good?
The future "Queenie" spends an eventful, character-building, adventurous, and romantic summer as she turns 16 on the family estate in this exciting prequel set in 1938. With gorgeous descriptions of Scotland, plentiful literary references, historical detail, local customs, social change, and fighting injustice, as well as lots of interior monologue, kissing, and colorful characters, The Pearl Thief may be a bit overstuffed with good things that don't quite come together. But it's a great read, with telling moments showing the early development of the appealing hero of Code Name Verity,
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.