Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
[April 24, 2012]
A novel about love, loss, and sex -- but not necessarily in that order.
Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.
Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.
Basically, I really loved Purity.
Jackson Pearce captured grieving so, so well. The grief and the struggle with God and religion is just spot on. It was intense and strong and it's really rare to see it captured so perfectly. I think that was the best part of the book for me. It was honest and real and it doesn't just apply to people who lost a parent, it applies to anyone who's ever lost someone or anyone who struggles with religion. I started this struggle over 10 years ago and it's not one that's easy to let go of and find an answer.
I also loved Shelby as a character. She was trying to hard to make everyone happy. Her mom, her dad, herself. It's another thing that makes her, and Purity as a whole, easy to relate to. Many, many people want to please everyone and that's just not possible all the time, so you pick the best path for you.
As always, Jackson Pearce's writing is wonderful. Despite being short, I don't feel like I missed anything from Purity. It didn't drag or slow down and it was plenty descriptive.
Really, this wasn't what I was expecting. It was so much more. Shelby feels like a real teen and Purity felt like it could be someone's life. Was it perfect? No, but it was pretty freaking close for me.This isn't going to be a book for everyone, but as someone who's Shelby's age and is dealing with a lot of the things she's dealing with, it was amazing.