Pearl Point: my unfinished 4th grade novel

I wanted to be a writer when I was little. (I still sort of do.) I wrote constantly in third and fourth grade, and when my family went on vacation, I saw that as more time for me to write. Between 1993 and 1995 (I should have written the date down, but I was about nine, give me a break), I wrote the opening to what I thought would be my magnum opus: Pearl Point. It stars Jenna Toanakan, a young Hawaiian beauty trapped in a murder mystery. She also lives in a cave.

I have never been to Hawaii in my entire life, as a side note. Neither have I seen a tiger shark. I have also, quite obviously, never been oystering, or whatever it’s called. Just wait: you’ll see how I thought you killed oysters.

I love this little unfinished piece. It makes no sense, overall, since I definitely didn’t plan out the plot. I’m proud that I only misspelled three words: colossal, humongous, and cartilage. I love how creative my little brain was. (At the time, I think I was reading a lot of adventure books and I was obsessed with sharks because I was terrified of them.)

Whenever I move, or clean my apartment, I find the bright teal book I wrote Pearl Point in, all those years ago. I re-read it, laugh hysterically, and put it back. This time, however, I decided to share it with the world, because it is sort of awesome in a terrible way. However, I’m really annoyed that I didn’t finish it. It ends on a cliffhanger, and I don’t remember why I stopped writing, or where the plot was headed.

Did you ever write grand novels when you were little? Do you still have some of them? I want to see.

And now, for your reading pleasure: Pearl Point. I have reproduced it exactly as it is in my little blank book. Read it aloud for maximum effect.


Jenna looked over the edge of the rocky cliff. She sighed and remembered the past two years. It had been hard for them all. All meaning Paul Toanakan and Jenna Toanakan. Two people–one half dead and one ready for anything. She, Jenna remembered, was the adventurous one. Paul, her believed-to-be-gone cousin, had been bitten continuously by a tiger shark. The memories were painful.
It had all started one summer day on a Hawaiian beach. Jenn, with her long, black, shiny hair and skin like toasted coconut, had wandered a little too far from home. “I can’t go any farther,” Jenna sighed, “because of that colasall rock.”
Jenna gathered up all of her strength and threw her gear (water bottles, etc.) up to a ledge. She then took two leaves and two strips of bark. Jenna stepped on each leaf and her feet stuck on the sap. Then Jenna attached the bark on with sap. She had made mountain climbing shoes!
Hair in her eyes, hope in her heart, Jenna climbed and climbed. She finally got to the ledge. Jenna pulled out her sleeping bag and laid down.
“Jenna!” Jenna sprung up as she heard her name being called. “Jenna!” The voice bellowed again.
As Jenna got up and looked around, she saw, on the white sand, dark brown lines. A sign of oysters, Jenna though. For a moment, Jenna’s mind was on the oyster bed. Then she caught herself and started wondering about the voice.
“Jenna!” The voice sounded again. Jenna recognized the voice and called out, “Father!”
“Father!” Jenna called again and again. But, to no avail, her father couldn’t see or hear her.
She ran down the cliff, getting a scratch in every possible place. But, it was too late. Her father had given up.
Jenna darted around the huge boulder. Her eyes flashed to the wiry mess on the beach. “An oyster net!” thought Jenna. She picked up the wire jumble and headed towards the water.
Jenna dipped the net into the clear, shining water. An oyster, annoyed at being disturbed, opened his shell and closed it on top of the net.
Secretly smiling, Jenna pulled up the net. “One oyster,” thought Jenna. With that, she took a big stick and beat the oyster to death.
Once the death progress was complete, Jenna opened the oyster. Her eyes were as bright as lightbulbs. The pearl was humungus! With a shaking hand, Jenna reached down and picked up the pearl. It glowed like Jenna had never seen before.
“A couple more of these and my family can be rich!” thought Jenna. She looked ahead quickly as if to see if anyone was watching her.
As Jenna looked towards the setting sun, she saw a man swim out past the sign that said, “WATCH OUT FOR TIGER SHARKS!”
Jenna thought nothing of that because pro divers always went out and came back with huge 300 pound tiger sharks. The skins were used for clothing and handbags. Jenna shivered, realizing that her bikini was made of tiger shark skins.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” screamed the man. Jenna ran to her gear and got a spear just in case of a shark attack.
But the man was silenced. Blood floated in the water. Death was in the air.
Jenna tiptoed quietly over to where the blood was floating and stared into the eyes of a tiger shark. This enormous 300 pound box of cartalige smiled and showed bloody gums and teeth.
Jenna gave a courageous shriek and plunged the spear into the shark.
The man who got killed by the shark was named Paul. Paul Toanakan. Jenna’s cousin.
Jenna was the only one who saw Paul being killed so of course everyone accused her. “Don’t do this! I didn’t kill Paul!” That was Jenna’s cry every night.
At last, she was old enough to live away from home. Jenna decided to live at Pearl Point, the place where she had caught the oysters. On the other side of the huge rock there were rock ledges big as houses and caves attached.
The ledge could be a porch. The cave could be her house. And all the little ledges inside the cave could be shelves. One big ledge inside could act as a bed. Yes! thought Jenna. I’ve got it made!
Jenna set out for Pearl Point that afternoon. The rock was on the far side of the island and would take all afternoon to get there.
Once Jenna got there, she made another pair of mountain climbing shoes and dipped them in melted plastic.
She then tied a rope to her suitcase so she could pull it up.
Tying the rope to her waist she climbed the rock. A sudden burst of pain came to her foot. As she looked down, she saw that her foot had been cut by a sharp stone. She knew that there could be an infection so she quickly scurried up the ledge that she had chosen.
When she and her suitcase were both in the cave, Jenna took an old T-shirt from the suitcase. She wrapped it around the deep cut until the pressure was so great, Jenna had to loosen it. Stepping lightly on the injured foot, Jenna quickly hobbled over to the ledge which she thought was suitable for a bed. She laid down, not caring about how hard it was. As she drifted into a deep sleep, she thought she heard a man scream, “Help me!” in a deep, strangled voice.
Jenna woke up to see that one of her favorite T-shirts had been stolen. A trail of bright red blood went from her suitcase all th way to the edge of the cliff. Looking over the edge, she saw nothing. Except a man. Wait! The man left a trail of blood which was dripping from his arm. To stop the bleeding, the man had wrapped Jenna’s Flamingo Club T-shirt around his arm.


About Amanda K

Amanda K holds a master's degree in Library and Information Studies. She's a housewife, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, a sewist, and an aspiring gourmet home cook. View all posts by Amanda K

3 responses to “Pearl Point: my unfinished 4th grade novel

  • Marissa Antosh

    HILARIOUS! “Once the death progress was complete” made me hoot with laughter. And this bit “Once Jenna got there, she made another pair of mountain climbing shoes and dipped them in melted plastic.”
    I started a story about a girl whose best friend got caught in an avalanche. I didn’t even get to the avalanche part though, because I was too busy describing the girl’s hippie mother. And I needed to research about what happens to people in avalanches, and what injuries they can sustain, but this was BEFORE GOOGLE. I don’t have the story anymore, either.

  • Amanda Lanyon-LeSage

    Yeah, I have no freaking clue where she suddenly got this melted plastic. She is a very industrious teenager. 🙂

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