I had a lot of things to do (as usual) when The Wishing Pearl by Nicole O'Dell arrived at my doorstep. I figured it couldn't hurt to crack it open and read a page or two. I was sucked right into the story. What initially looked like a thick book that I didn't have time for yet ended up being a fast, enjoyable read. It was hard to put down!
I really felt bad for Olivia Mansfield. From the outside, she looks like a spoiled rich teen girl who is great at playing the oboe and can't get over the loss of her dad. But she has secretly been suffering because of her evil stepfather while her mom goes about shopping...oblivious to her daughter's real needs. Olivia is trapped. To relieve the pressure of her situation, she begins making bad choices which lead to awful consequences. Eventually, Olivia ends up at Diamond Estates which is a loving Christian place for girls who want to turn their lives around.
Olivia's older brother and counselor at Diamond Estates are both deaf and I love how sign language is integrated into the book. I also like the three girls who are Olivia's roommates. They each have their own unique personality and background.
Will Olivia find God? Or will she go on feeling unloved?
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Nicole O'Dell's newest book The Wishing Pearl. From the minute I started to read this book I knew that I was in for a treat.
Olivia Mansfield is a troubled teen. Her step-father is abusive and her family life is less then happy. So she turns to other things to fill the void. Until one day God get's a hold of her attention.
Some might argue that Olivia's choices are a bad influence, but I digress. The author doesn't sugar coat the issues dealt with in the book, rather she shows teens the consequences and does a wonderful job of writing about the struggles that teens are facing.
I don't cry in books. Ever. I did in this one. I honestly connected with Olivia so well. I didn't want the book to end. I wanted to read the rest of her story. I felt like I was leaving behind a dear friend.
I loved The Wishing Pearl. It is one of my favorite books and I've already read it several times. Every teenager needs to read this book. It's geared towards girls, but boys can learn a lesson too. I recommend this book for teens 15+ just because of the content, but I loved the story.
The main character Olivia's living conditions require some choices and decisions be made. She is living in a girl's worst nightmare with regard to her step father's advances toward her and chooses to run headfirst into the "party scene" hoping to escape. Not having her mother's support, and having lost her father when she was young, she did not have good resource people for making good choices. At her worst point, in conflict with her mother, and having gone way further into the "dark" world than originally intended, her mother insisted she go to a rehab type of environment. It is there that she starts making good choices and eventually ends up totally turning her life around with God's help and the people at the center. This book shows what a huge difference our choices can make in the direction of our lives. It is an excellent book for teens to show them situations and options of choice they may have when facing similar situations. Great preparation for teens.
Olivia Mansfield has everything a girl could want. She lives in a mansion, has a rich stepfather, a mother who spoils her, and a wonderful big brother. But it's all a mirage. Her stepfather's abuse, her mother's indifference, and nightmares of her real father's death make Olivia's live something she wants to get away from.
So when her friend introduces Olivia to the party scene, Olivia is only too happy to indulge in this means of escape. But one too many parties and the death of her friend lead Olivia to a girls' home called Diamond Estates, her last hope at getting her life on track before she loses it.
Talk about your coming of age novel! Wow. This book sucked me in and didn't let go. And when it was done, I was sad. I wanted to keep reading about Olivia's life, all the way until she was a grandmother. Alas, the book stopped WAY before then. Ah well, it was worth it. Olivia's story and her journey to find herself enthralled me. I was rooting for the truth to be revealed every step of the way. This is a wonderful book for young girls. I can't wait to read the next one in the series!
This first book in the Diamond Estates series is a winner, not just for the compelling story and the fine writing, but for the spiritual victory portrayed within its pages. Nicole O'Dell has a gift for creating real-life characters and situations that seem plucked right from today. I truly cared about each of the girls involved, especially the main characterÃ¢â¬âtroubled Olivia Mansfield. The author tells the tale through Olivia's point of view, a wise choice since the reader becomes intimately involved in her experience.
I whizzed through the novel, but the story sticks with me. Although it's a teen story, it appeals to women too. I think adult readers can better understand how teens become attracted and trapped in the web of alcohol, smoking, and drugs, and also how a place like Diamond Estates can help them break free and find a new way of life.
Olivia struggled with whether God is real and there for her, a common dilemma. She also had to deal with an abusive stepfather and a mother who seemed distant. I liked the way she related to her hearing-impaired brother and the incorporation of sign language in some of her dialogue. I think the relationships portrayed in the book offer positive models. Even the negative ones were eventually resolved. (I confess, though, I felt no compassion for her stepfather.)
I recommend The Wishing Pearl as a powerful read. It sounds trivial to say it's enjoyable, but it is also thought-provoking and encouraging. I think it can literally help change lives.