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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: PURITY by Jackson Pearce

TITLE: Purity                                 AUTHOR: Jackson Pearce
PUB: Little Brown                        PUB DATE: 4/24/12 
FORMAT: hc, 218 pages
SOURCE: from pub for review

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

THREE FIVE WORDS: Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby! *dances*

MY REVIEW: A book like Purity, with its provocative subject matter, will either have readers running in the opposite direction or snatching the book up as soon as they can…I fall into the latter category. As soon as I read the synopsis for Jackson Pearce’s contemp  I knew I just had to read it. And I’m so glad I did!

You have five weeks to lose your virginity. What’s a gal to do? Sixteen year old Shelby Crewe is faced with this dilemma. Before her mother died five years ago, she made Shelby promise three things: to always listen to her father, to love as much as possible and to live without restraint. Three promises Shelby has dedicated her life to following. But when Mr. Crewe signs up to organize the local Princess Ball- a father/daughter dance that ends with the daughters taking a vow to live a pure life (no booze, no drugs, no sex)-Shelby suddenly finds it hard to keep both Promise #1 and #3. Enter the loophole- if Shelby loses her virginity before the ball then the vow will be void and she doesn’t have to break either promise. With the help of her BFF’s, Jonas and Ruby, Shelby sets out to lose her V-card, but ends up finding a few things along the way.

Jackson Pearce certainly brings the funny with Purity, but she also brings a wonderful thought-provoking and beautifully honest essence as well. Don’t let the synopsis fool you, this isn’t just the simple humorous story of a girl trying to lose her virginity. This is a heartfelt, touching and yes, very funny, coming of age story of one girl who is simply trying to stay true to herself, while struggling with grief, anger and heartache.

This is a shorter read, at only 218 pages, and I devoured it in one sitting. Pearce writes with a razor-sharp wit and a clear understanding of her intended audience. She nails the teenage voice, without having to resort to an overuse of slang or teenage “lingo”, which I love. Purity deals with some heavy stuff (sex, grief, doubts about God, relationships) and Pearce handles these things deftly and with finesse.

This is very much a character driven story and Pearce’s characters are fantastic. I love Shelby! She shines with her snarky humor, introspective honesty and compassion. There’s something just so real and relatable about this girl that she felt more like a friend than a simple character. Shelby’s two BFF’s, Jonas and Ruby, are equally as awesome. Ruby is spunky and Jonas is sweet and endearing. I love the vibe between this trio and how close and there for each other they are. I’d love to read a book told from Ruby’s perspective; there’s seems to be so much more about this character and I want to learn it all.

Shelby’s quest to lose her virginity is sprinkled with plenty of awkward hilarity, but this journey also has Shelby doing a whole lot of soul searching. Her grief for her mother, her doubts in God, her distant relationship with her father and her struggle with finding out just who she is and who she wants to be, are all explored as she sets out to keep those three promises. Pearce does a superb job of exploring these elements realistically and with unfailing honesty.

Pearce creates an insightful and poignant look into the relationship of two people- Shelby and her father- who have both been touched by grief and who, instead of letting that grief bring them closer, have let it painfully distance them. I love the journey both Shelby and Mr. Crewe take to find their way back to one another.

Oh, and I have to say that I just LOVE the simple, but perfect cover for this book!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Jackson Pearce’s Purity has buckets of charm, humor and heart! This is a wonderfully layered and crafted YA contemporary that will captivate teens and adults alike. A must read!

4.5 / 5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Jackson Pearce currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy and currently works for a software company even though she auditioned for the circus (she juggled and twirled fire batons, but they still didn’t want her). Other jobs she’s had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist.
In addition, Jackson coaches both colorguard and winterguard at a local high school; she’s taught over four hundred students since starting seven years ago. Coaching provides the greatest “research” for writing YA that she could ever ask for and has introduced her to some of the most unique characters she’s ever met.
Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn’t tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since


Amy said...

Great review! I don't read a lot of Contemporary, but this sounds like one that I would enjoy.

Jenn @ Owl Read It said...

I really enjoyed Purity! Shelby was an awesome character and I loved her snarky attitude. I laughed so much reading this book. I was brought to tears from laughing so hard a couple of times (when she "becomes" a woman and when she buys the condoms really got me laughing)

Great review!