My Thoughts On: Purity by Jackson Pearce + GIVEAWAY!

Posted June 13, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 59 Comments

Purity by Jackson Pearce
Published by Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: April 24, 2012
218 Pages
Source:  ARC from publisher

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. –(summary from Goodreads)

Purity by Jackson Pearce

My Thoughts: Shelby’s mother died when she was really young. Just before she died, she made Shelby promise three things: to love and listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Had she known that would be the last time she’d see her mother, she’d never have made those promises. But since she did, she’s spent her entire life since then keeping them. No matter what.

Shelby’s two best friends, Jonas and Ruby, do everything they can to help her keep her promises to her mother. When Shelby’s father volunteers to plan and organize the local Princess Ball, it really stresses Shelby out. With the Princess Ball (which is basically a Father-Daughter Dance, complete with a purity vow at the end) comes another opportunity to keep the promise she made to her mother: love and listen to her father. However, Shelby isn’t really sure if she wants to take a purity vow. It doesn’t really seem to go along with Promise Three: living without restraint. Suddenly, all of her thoughts – all of them! – turn to sex, being a virgin, and finding a loophole in this purity vow. With the Princess Ball looming in just five weeks – and the vow she will have to take with her father in front of everyone – she is forced to make a decision on what she’s going to do. Can Shelby find a way to not take the vow without breaking Promise One? Or is she about to let down people she loves just to live without restraint?


For those of you that are not aware, mixed reviews are like fuel to my fire. I love them. And I’ve seen where Purity has garnered some mixed reviews thus far. So I’ve been pretty excited to include it in my contemporary month. Guys, I was not disappointed.

There are a few discussable/controversial topics in this book. Anytime you have a book that openly discusses young people having sex (should I or shouldn’t I?) and wanting to hurry up! and lose their virginity, there’s bound to be some mixed feelings among the readership. Add a little bit of religious talk in there and some readers just won’t like it.

Personally, I liked Purity. What I chose to keep in mind was that Shelby made promises to her mother as a really young girl and she tried as hard as she could to keep them. In doing this, she really made some bad choices along the way a few times, which made her only human. And I like when characters are portrayed as regular, flawed, normal, average people. Shelby had a great support system in Ruby and Jonas, her best friends, which were fantastic secondary characters as well. Shelby’s plan was utterly ridiculous, you guys, and not well-thought-out at all. I attribute this to her age and immaturity level, and again point out that Shelby was a regular, average person that made mistakes. But I still found her so endearing and likable.  

Shelby’s relationship with her father was so awkward to read because it was just plain awkward for her! I can imagine a father raising a teenage daughter alone is awkward. I like what the author did with this relationship, though, and found myself rooting hardcore for the two all along the way.

The religious stuff – you know, guys, it seems like I keep picking up contemporary books with religion in them lately. I don’t mind because books with religion in them have never bothered me before. I’m pretty firm in my own beliefs and have always been able to separate what I read from my own system. It boils down to this: basically Shelby has a really hard time believing in a God that took her mother away from her. That’s it, plain and simple. She talks quite a bit about how she used to follow God and be on a straight and narrow path, but when she prayed and it didn’t work out, she didn’t really trust God anymore. Since this is a wound that hasn’t really healed for Shelby yet, she has quite a bit of inner dialogue about it, but it isn’t preachy at all – it is just part of her character and her thought processes. I was never upset or offended because I read it terms of Shelby’s grief, even though it has been years since her mother’s death. She still feels these feelings and shares them with us as readers.

I thought Purity was a great little book, short and yet packed a big punch. Shelby’s story was kind of intense, but kind of not-intense – if that makes any sense at all. I just can see so many people going through similar thought processes if they were faced with the same situations. The purity vows are hardcore – I was raised in the church, so I get understand and remember this whole issue – and I also know what goes with the vows. Shelby and her friends and their story was great, albeit controversial for sure, but I think that a lot of you will really enjoy it. Some of you will no doubt be offended by parts of it, but for the most part, I think most of you will really like it.

Purity will appeal to fans of

YA Contemporary
Recommended for Older YA & Adult YA-Loving Readers

Purity by Jackson Pearce
is currently available for purchase.

**I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for my thoughts. Thank you Little, Brown BYR!


I’m giving away my ARC of PURITY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck! 


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


59 responses to “My Thoughts On: Purity by Jackson Pearce + GIVEAWAY!

  1. I was skeptical about this book because of the mixed reviews being you either loved it or hated it. But in the last month or so I've read some beautiful, postive reviews (yours included) and I am sold. I am very interested to how this book goes. And a chance to win a copy? Thank you! 😀 A great review and fab giveaway = best post ever! Hehe, contemporary month rocks!

    • Hey Rebecca! I love your comments so much!

      I definitely think this is one that people will make their own opinions about, and the only way to do that is to just read it. I thought it was a good book and I liked it a lot. Anything I thought would have been fairly controversial was, in my opinion, written into the character and I'm pretty good at separating my own beliefs from what I'm reading and not being swayed any.

      I think if you're on the fence about it, you should give it a shot. It isn't a long book at all, I read it all at once. I love that you're enjoying contemporary month!

    • Hey Ashleley! And I love your posts and reviews! <3

      I'm not on the fence, I was before, but now I am super intrigued and looking forward to diving into this one!

      I ADORE contemporary month!! Contemporary has always and forever will be my favorite genre. I love a good dystopian, a thrilling paranormal, an engaging historical but there's just something about contemporary. I may wander off and experiment but I always come back. I consider it my first love ;D

    • Ooh, I'm interested in seeing what you think when you read it Rebecca. I really liked it. 🙂

      I'm realizing as I'm doing this contemporary month just how many people love it so much. Since I didn't really read it much before, I didn't know that many people read it primarily.

  2. Ems

    I'm debating on this one still. I've heard good things & I've heard bad. From what I've read, it seems to me like the 'I've got to hurry up & lose my virginity' would bother me a lot more than the religious stuff. I usually steer clear of both in books. I'm very religious too, so it's not the religion itself that bothers me, it's the way that things usually get preachy. Where this one isn't done in a preachy way, I think the religion wouldn't bother me a bit. the other probably would though.

    I don't know. I'm still torn.

    • Gotcha, Ems. I see what you're saying.

      Yes, Shelby's character DOES have that mindset – the hurry-up mindset. But it is a dumb, faulty plan and she comes to realize that. Part of the story is her coming to realize that the plan was no good to begin with and what she does with that information. And all of that sort of ties in with her grief.

      I absolutely see where you're coming in with it mixing in with personal beliefs. If you think it might be one that might bother you, definitely steer clear of it. On a personal level, I don't agree with much of anything in this book and I felt like I wanted to sit down and have a nice, long talk with Shelby. However, I just knew that going in it, it was a bit controversial and read it as part of her character being raised solely by a father, and I think that helped ME.

      Definitely think on it. I liked it, though.

    • Ems

      with the character growth that clearly occurs, I think I might be able to get past the hurry up bit. If she's going to make that choice and learn from her mistakes, I'm definitely interested in seeing how she works it out.

      I'm actually reading another Pearce book right now, and I love her style. I'm thinking it's enough to sway me.

    • Yeah, Ems, at least you know that if you DO decide to read it – you know going in a tiny bit of what to expect. Kind of a little bit more of an informed decision than just what the synopsis provides, or at least I hope I've given you a little more insight. If you really are interested in reading it and have more questions about it, you can always shoot me an email and we can discuss it!

  3. I think it's important to include controversial subjects in books because it helps the reader think about his/her own opinions on the topic. Perhaps she/he hasn't formed an opinion yet. A book could help that process along. I think the book sounds very interesting with the inclusion of the religious beliefs.

  4. I like to think of books that cover topics like these not as controversial but thought provoking. I love when books can help to create a dialogue for really difficult subjects! These are important topics to discuss!

  5. I don't think the religion in the book would bother me at all. I like books where you can really see the main character maturing and growing so I believe I would enjoy Purity very much.

    Ty so much for the giveaway!
    Penny Pe

    • Hi Penny! I never seem to be bothered by books with religion in them either. In fact, I finished another one today. It almost seems like I'm a magnet for them…

      I love character growth too, and I think Shelby does some growing in this book. There's certainly some coming-of-age in there.

  6. This book has been on my TBR list for so long! Ever since i read the blurb somewhere! I have read Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce and loved it!And I personally don't think the topic is controversial, I'm an adult and I can handle it in the way it was meant to be taken!

    • YAY for being able to handle it the way it was meant to be taken!!

      You know, this is my first Jackson Pearce book. I can't believe I've never read any of her fairytale retellings before, because I always love those types of stories so much. And if I'm not wrong (correct me if I am) this is her first contemp?

      I think you'll like this one. I did!

  7. I have not read this book but I really want to! I think it is a controversial topic, so I would be interested to see how the author approached it.

    • Morgan, the author was pretty straight-forward in her approach and I was actually almost surprised a couple of times at how forward she was. But it was all okay and written into Shelby's character. I loved it and Shelby. I don't necessarily agree with everything Shelby does and says and feels, but I can appreciate what the author has written for her.

      I hope you like it too when you get a chance to read it. 🙂

  8. I haven't had the opportunity to read anything by Pearce yet. But I've heard some really great things. While this topic doesn't bother me, I can see why others would think it's controversial. This only makes me want to read it more!

    • I'm like you, Vivien – give me mixed reviews (or maybe controversy) and I want to make my own opinion. I was thrilled to be able to read this one and make my own decision. And also like you, this is my first Pearce book – I can't believe I have read anything else by her as much as I love the fairy-tale re-telling stories!

  9. I have not yet read anything by Jackson Pearce but I've heard good things about Purity.I like to read books with different topics whether they are controversial or not.It broadens my mind and makes me think.Thus Purity sounds awesome!

  10. I've been so torn on this one, but I was really interested to see what you thought of it. I'm still thinking this really isn't the book for me. I try to separate my own religious beliefs out from how I feel about a book, but this one hits a little close to home for me, and I think it'd just make me angry and dislike the main character. I do like to see that Jackson Pearce is having success crossing genre lines, but I think I'll probably end up sticking to the fairy tales. 😛

    • Gotcha Bunbury! It's perfectly okay not to read it. I think your feelings are some of the same that I've read around in other places, from what it sounds like. There are plenty, plenty of books to read and already not enough time, so I think you'll be just find to skip this one! 🙂

      I seriously need to try one of the fairy tales, because I love those so much and have never tried one! Plus those covers are so cute.

  11. I am glad you liked this one and were able to separate your faith from your reading, if that makes sense. For me, because I have a religious background that I totally turned my back on (sorry don't hate me) I found that I could relate to and understand a lot of Shelly's questioning and what she is going through. I think that maybe if you haven't been there or aren't able to separate your beliefs from the reading, then yeah it will offend.

    Anyways, I am really just dropping by to say that I love your review of Purity and am glad Contemporary Month is going well.

    • I never ever hate you!

      I always am able, at least so far, to separate my books and my faith. Just like I can when I watch movies or TV shows or listen to song lyrics or do other things that don't "mesh" exactly. I see no difference. I could talk on this for days. It never bothers me.

      So I also, perhaps from the other spectrum, found that I could relate to Shelby's questions and stuff. I just loved her, even flawed. Not flawed for her beliefs, but flawed for her immaturity. I totally agree that if you are one that cannot separate, you might be offended by this one, which is okay to admit and probably better to decide before starting the book, actually.

      LOVE it when you stop by. I'm planning a spam-comment spree on Books & Wine soon. I promise.

  12. Anonymous

    i have not read this book or anyother of her books yet but i do really really really want to read fathomless witch come's out on september 4 this year and its the day right before my birthday i ill be getting it not long after my birthday

  13. I haven't read Purity but I've read Jackson's Sister Red and I do have Sweetly sitting on my shelf. I think the issue of sex before marriage and"purity" is a good point but I'm not strongly religious so for me, it's not a huge issue. As long as you're being safe, I'm sure it's fine 🙂

  14. I've heard about this book a lot, but I haven't read it yet or any other books from the author. But I'm curious now after reading your review 😀

    • Veronika, I liked it. I was definitely curious about it when I read it too. I read the whole thing at once. It was a quick, good, read. It frustrated me a time or two, but it was a great book. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  15. I read this and really liked it! I know it's gotten some flack, but I identified with it. Pretty realistic for someone that age and with those experiences.

    • I agree, Meg, it is pretty realistic. I liked it too. I understand why it has gotten the flack, books like this tend to be controversial, and I tend to flock to the controversial ones. Still, I liked it. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Hi. I haven't read this book yet, but I read Sisters Red three times and it made me cry. Such a good book. I also liked Jackson Pearce's debut, As You Wish, but I didn't find it particularly noteworthy. It was just okay for me.

    I don't think the themes in Purity are too controversial, as they reflect the choices many high school girls have to make.

    • Oh, I want to read Sisters Red so much! I need to just get a copy because my library doesn't own it. The cover is so pretty. I've never heard of As You Wish!

      These are definitely choices that girls – and guys too, really – have to make. I love this book, though, and the way the author approached what could've been a tough subject. I didn't think she made it too preachy although some people did.

  17. I haven't read Purity or any other books of Jackson Pearce but I do have a friend that has a copy of the book but hasn't lent it to me T___T -so thank you for the chance to win a copy- I don't think those topics be that controversial, any teenager has to go through it, some time to time, that's how you learn about mistakes, learn about life and love. I would love to learn how to write reviews like yours, sometimes I think I give to much away when I writing them! Yours are awesome! Thanks for the giveaway! (ileana-rafflecopter)

    • Oh wow, Thank you! Good luck with the giveaway! You have a nice friend!

      Yes, these are definitely things young people have to go through. I like the way this author chose to write about it, not too preachy.

      Sometimes I'm a bit scared I give too much away in my reviews too. 🙂

  18. I haven't read any of Jackson Pearce's books yet, but I just ordered Sweetly and I can't wait to read all of her other books! I heard she is an amazing writer, and she looks very nice, so thanks for the giveaway! this book looks awesome!

    • Oh I've wanted to read Sweetly since I've heard about it! I've never read the fairy-tale retellings by this author but I love retellings so much. I love the covers of Sweetly and Sisters Red.

      This is a great book! Hope you enjoy it!

  19. Anonymous

    I'd love to read it, and any of her other books, but here in Portugal is hard to find foreigner books, so I love this giveaway. This sounds amazing.

    • So glad you entered the giveaway! Good luck with it! I try when I can to make my giveaways open internationally so check back and look up in the right hand corner at what I've got going for this contemporary month – several are open world-wide.

      Purity is really a great book!

  20. I have not read this book but I do believe against sex before marriage is not the way to go I think one should want and I mean that in a good way 🙂

  21. Thanks for the giveaway, and what a great review!
    I've been looking forward to reading Purity since a long time now, and I don't think it's content will bother me. I like the coming of age stuff. I completely agree with tour views about religion being pot rayed in a book. I respect it, it's there and that's that!
    I really liked your review, great stuff. 🙂

  22. Na

    I don't mind the controversial issues. Actually because of them it makes me more curious to read the book. I also like characters that have flaws and aren't perfect. How they deal is what I'm interesting in. Thanks for the reivew.

  23. I love to read books with controversial topics and mixed reviews. Sometimes those are the best ones. Very thorough review for those who have questions as to the content. Loved reading it!

  24. I haven't read any of her other books, but this one i've heard so many different things about that i know i'm going to have to read it! I think that it's important for some books to cover topics like this. This is something that girls go through in real life, so to read about it is good for them so they can feel like they're not alone in what they're going through. or i think so anyway : )

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