O'Dell creates an aura of mystery and the supernatural in The Black Pearl, transplanting familiar themes into a foreign environment. Set in coastal Mexico, the book depicts a realm dominated by religion and superstition, hope and desperation. O'Dell provides a vivid entrance into this region and an introduction to its folklore. The novel emphasizes the universality of experience, demonstrating that young people everywhere share the same dreams and flaws of character, and face the same struggles on the path to maturity.

(The entire section is 81 words.)