There are a lot of mysteries in Pearl's life: why is she called Beanie? Why does her grandfather doesn't get along with her mother? Whatever happened to her father? Why does Mom's best friend Claire move in with them? These mysteries (secrets, really) weigh heavy over Pearl's life and her relationships with her mother and grandfather. The only place she finds comfort is with her best friend Henry and her mother Sally.
This is a slow-moving family melodrama, that is smart enough to know that it has elements of a soap opera, but happy to wallow in that muck. For me, it was dry and boring. The characters are authentic and memorable, but not terribly interesting. As a result, I found it hard to get involved. The basic theme (discovering that the world is more complex than you imagined it was as a child) isn't enough to keep me going and the book simply didn't engage me.