Road Tripping with Pearl Nash (Poppy Nwosu, Wakefield)
Since her 2018 debut Making Friends with Alice Dyson, shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award and the Readings Young Adult Book Prize, Poppy Nwosu has been creating protagonists that are a joy to read. In Nwosu’s third romantic contemporary novel for young adults that protagonist is Pearl Nash, a prickly and defensive country girl who has clung to her best friend since moving to the city. In the summer holidays before her final year of school, Pearl embarks on a road trip intent on solving all her problems: she will track down her uncommunicative nana and revive her dying friendship with her lovestruck best friend Daisy at a house party on the coast. Pearl’s plans begin to go off course when she is guilted into taking Obi, the detested best friend of Daisy’s boyfriend, with her to the party. A vehicle breakdown and a spontaneous kiss between Pearl and Obi diverts Pearl’s literal and metaphorical journey. The novel explores friendship, love, grief and the courage to move forward in life, alongside a charming enemies-to-lovers romance between Pearl and Obi. In Road Tripping with Pearl Nash Nwosu once again strikes a perfect balance between humour, romance and wisdom. Pearl’s endearing awkwardness and her journey of self-discovery will appeal to fans of Nina Kenwood’s It Sounded Better in My Head aged 13 and older.
Ilona Urquhart is a children’s and youth services librarian on the Surf Coast and has a PhD in literary studies. Read her interview with Poppy Nwosu here.