Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: Purity by Jackson Pearce

by Jackson Pearce
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Pages: 224
Source:Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tour

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.
(from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Funny, charming, endearing. Awkward, confusing, and oh so misguided. Words that describe Shelby Crewe of Jackson Pearce's Purity.

I liked this book a whole lot - I mean bunches and bunches. I've already recommended it to friends and I would read it again and definitely want other people to read it. Yet there was something that just didn't sit well with me. It didn't stop me from finishing the story or even savoring the last words. So what was it - the little hang-up that I couldn't get over? Just the overall lack of communication between Shelby and her father. As I was reading Purity I kept thinking to myself - tell him what you are thinking - he wants to listen to what you have to say. It is so obvious. Instead she devises a plan, rather impulsively, to lose her virginity so she doesn't have to take a pledge to be "pure" and then lie to her father.  Seriously?! Really?! Couldn't she thought of something else?

It may sound like I thought this book was ridiculous but I don't. I just read it from a different perspective. Dare I admit it, an "older" perspective. But I completely get it, not a lot of teenage girls feel like they can speak openly with their dad especially when there has been so much silence between them for a long time.

I admit that I loved reading the interactions between Shelby and her friends Ruby and Jonas as they plan her future hook-ups. But it was more so for the contemplation than all of the scheming they were doing. In her more thoughtful moments, Shelby says to Jonas,
"I never really pictured how I wanted my first time to be, you know? But now that I'm trying to have it, I feel like I'm giving up some fantasy that never even existed to begin with." 
Even though the conversation before and after wasn't all too serious, her having said this made me feel really sad for Shelby. She was a character that I wanted to shake some sense into, but also give her a big hug and be a friend to.

This book poses a lot of ideas on love and loss, friendship, family, and faith. It makes for a great book to discuss with friends or even a book club. I'm sure that it may even contribute to some heated discussions depending on the reader's perspective. I've already shared it with some friends and I'm looking forward to talking about it with them.

I received the ARC for review as part of the Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tours.


  1. I loved, LOVED this book so much! I thought the author did a great job of addressing some pretty heavy issues in a very funny way. (I think I read it from an older perspective, as well) Great review!

  2. I am a BIG fan of Jackson Pierce! I've only read one of her books, but really liked her writing style! I get frustrated when there's a great book, but one little thing that throws my love for it into the realm of it being 99.9% perfect! Great review! :)

  3. I am just really happy to hear how much you enjoyed this book. It sounds like a really great read! I love it when I fall in love with the main character too. Great review.


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