Purity by Jackson Pearce
Published by Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: April 24, 2012
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:
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!
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