I just finished The Lost Pearl by Lara Zuberi, which I really enjoyed! It is a wonderful story about a young Pakistani girl, Sana, whose happy childhood is abruptly brought to an end by a horrible tragedy. The story follows her as she grows into a young woman. She and her family are forever changed by the event, and the author does a wonderful job of showing how Sana struggles to deal her anger and grief, and eventually finds happiness again.
The descriptions of Sana's childhood, and her experiences in Pakistan and in the U.S. are beautifully written, from the descriptions of the foods and sights of Pakistan, to the emotions she struggles with in the aftermath of the tragedy. The love that the author has for her country is very apparent in her descriptions. Additionally, I was very happy to note that the main character (as well as some of the other characters) were very well developed. Sana appealed to me because she had many shades of gray. Her reactions to the events in the book were sometimes unreasonable, and I could clearly see how much she had matured over the course of the book. I really connected with her. I do wish that Sana's friends, Jennifer and Kavita, as well the character of Ahmer were more fleshed out. I feel that Ahmer was made out to be a bit of a "white knight"/Prince Charming, and it would have been nice if he had a few faults. I was still rooting for the relationship, but would have loved it even more if he had had more shades of gray as well. I did enjoy reading about how the duo bonded over their love of Urdu poetry. As a hopeless romantic with a liking for Urdu poetry (which I wish I understood!), these scenes put a smile on my face.
In technical terms, I felt that the story was evenly paced and well edited. I also did not find the story to be predictable, and the big secret that Ahmer revealed towards the end of the story surprised me a great deal. I thought that this was very well done. My only complaint is that after his (and Sana's) revelations were dealt with, the rest of the story wrapped up quickly, and the epilogue was a little anticlimactic.
In sum, I very much enjoyed this story, and read it in one sitting. It was well-written, and unique, and I quickly connected with the characters. I look forward to reading more books by this author, and would love to read another story about Sana and Ahmer, or one of the supporting characters, like Kavita or one of Sana's siblings.
My Review: 5 stars