The Pearl Thief (Code Name Verity #0.5) by Elizabeth Wein
Rating: 2 stars
I read Code Name Verity last year and loved the World War II based story. I was therefore excited to read the prequel to Julia's story, The Pearl Thief which charts Julia's last summer at her grandfather's ancestral home as it is broken down and sold to a boarding school to cover the family debts.
I think it is important to understand that I very very rarely DNF (do not finish) books, even if I feel so-so about them I will almost always work through until the end. With The Pearl Thief, however, I kept trying and trying to love it, to the point I read 50% in total but unfortunately, the call of at least another 50 books sitting on my TBR shelf eventually persuaded me that the investment was not worth it to finish this book. For me this book read like an Enid Blyton Famous Five novel. It all felt a little too jolly hockey sticks and ginger beer for me. It didn't have any real stakes and Julia was just so frustrating to read from the perspective of in this book. She came across as hugely immature, flaky and lacking in emotional substance.
Although it was meant to have a mystery at the heart of the story by halfway through I just couldn't get invested in the plot at all. We have a missing person who we are not really introduced to so we don't really care where he has gone, also we have missing pearls that again don't feel very interesting or intense as a story arc and finally the mystery of who attacked Julia. By this point, I was wishing it was me who had bopped her over the head as she was just driving me crackers.
Disappointed by this one, I gave it a good chance but not wasting time this year on reading books I'm not invested in. Onwards and upwards to my next read.