The Wishing Pearl by Nicole O'Dell – A Diamond Estates Novel
SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD OLIVIA MANSFIELD DREAMS OF A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY . . .
A land far away from her stepfather’s abuse and torment.
A land far away from her mother’s blind eye.
A land far away from the haunting memories of her past.
But then reality sets in, and Olivia knows she must make the best of her dire situation – at least until her high school graduation. But when poor choices lead Olivia to the brink of a complete breakdown and she finds herself dealing with the unexpected death of her best friend, she comes to a crossroads.
Will Olivia find the path to ultimate hope and healing that her heart longs for? Or will the demons from her past prove too much to bear?
In The Wishing Pearl, Nicole O'Dell weaves the sweet story of one girl’s struggle to break free of her past. I’m not usually a fan of modern girl’s books (I prefer fantasy and plenty of action) and I’m generally somewhat squeamish about certain difficult topics. But although this book deals with some tough stuff – teen drinking, drug use, child abuse, etc – Nicole handled it extremely tactfully. The story was anything but boring and I really enjoyed it!
The book kept my attention all the way through. Olivia’s struggles and doubts were all believable. I was rooting for Olivia and her friends the whole time!
In the story, Diamond Estates is a home for “troubled girls” where the staff helps the girls work through the issues that they’re facing – physical, mental, and spiritual. I enjoyed reading about Diamond Estates. Even though it was a fictional place, reading about it was enough to make me wish I could work at a place like it someday.
I work at a Christian youth camp during the summer and each year we host an Angel Tree Week where children who have at least one parent in prison are able to come to camp! It’s just about the toughest week there is to work, but it’s the most rewarding! I love working Angel Tree and seeing the impact that it has on the kids.
It’s a chance for them to come and play in a safe environment, to hear the word of God, and have folks loving them at all times. These kids have been hurt and so they set up some pretty strong barriers that take a while to break through – and you can’t always break through – but when you do, it’s just amazing! You realize that the staff weren't the really ones who broke through – it was the love of God.
In some ways, reading about Diamond Estates reminded me of working Angel Tree Week. In the story, the staff were so dedicated to loving and helping the girls, and so focused on the spiritual aspect of the girl’s healing because they knew that ultimately, the only one who could truly help was Christ.
All in all, I really enjoyed The Wishing Pearl and found it a captivating and sweet – though at times almost heartbreaking – story. I will definitely pick up more of Nicole’s books in the future and look forward to reading more in the Diamond Estates series. Because of some of the difficult subject material, I recommend it for ages 13+ but I give it a 5 stars!
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Be sure to check out what the other Team Novel Teen bloggers have to say about The Wishing Pearl:
My Life with a Mission • ADD Librarian • Audacious Reader • The Book Fae • Book Nook 4 You • Bookworm Reading • Colorimetry • Jill Williamson • Katie McCurdy • The Librarian’s Bookshelf • The Pen and Parchment • Rachelle Rea • Terri Harr • Virtuous Girlhood
Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about The Wishing Pearl by Nicole O’Dell by clicking on the links above, and check out www.NovelTeen.com for more information about Team Novel Teen.
NOTE: In conjuction with the Team Novel Teen blog tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are entirely my own!