I love novels in verse. I have seen so much power in books written in this format over the past several years. Often, these books are powerful but the format allows for deep reading. Because there is not as much text as in a "regular" novel, kids who struggle with grade level text and kids who struggle with stamina to get through an entire book, can build that stamina, confidence and fluency with novels and verse. And, they almost always invite great conversations.
Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy is a perfect example of why I love great novels in verse. Pearl is a young girl who lives with her mother an grandmother. But her grandmother is suffering from dementia and no longer recognizes Pearl or her mother. Pearl's mother is the sole caregiver and the grandmother's illness is taking a toll on everyone. Pearl is trying to make sense of it all. She desperately wants her grandmother back and her grief and feeling of loss is part of the book.
This is a quick read. (only 73 pages) But it is a hard read. Pearl is the one telling the story and she is having a hard time. Her life is difficult right now and she is struggling. School is hard, her teacher doesn't appreciate her poetry and her grandmother's illness weighs heavily on her at all times. I came to love Pearl very early in the book. She is genuine and honest. She is dealing with real problems and is handling it all in very real ways.