on June 27, 2012
Warning: This book will make you laugh! You'll be smiling so much that your cheeks hurt at some points, and at others you won't be able to help aching for Shelby as she learns difficult life lessons without a mom to guide her, which no kid should have to do.
Shelby has 5 weeks to lose her virginity before she has to vow against impurity at the Princess Ball. The idea may sound juvenile at first, but it's actually NOT. It's sweet and honest. Shelby is bound by three promises she vowed to her mother before she died of cancer, and even when it's difficult sometimes, she's devoted to following them ' always. So when two of the promises conflict, she has to rush to fill that loophole before it's too late!
I want to give Shelby a medal of epic snark; she was such a fun, adorable, and heartwarming character! Unlike most teenagers, she takes her promises seriously. But like most teenagers, she's flawed and quirky and ridiculously fun. Along with her best friends, Jonas and Ruby, they make one hilarious trio that you'll be rooting for until the very end.
This is a book about family and friendship, love and loss ' and yes, sex, but it's not explicit at all so I feel comfortable recommending it to all growing teens, adults, and any fan of Jackson Pearce! She expertly writes about the strained, awkward, yet totally sweet relationship between a daughter and a father who are trying to reconnect.
Absolutely hilarious and surprisingly heartfelt, Purity is a book that has the heart, soul, and quirky fun necessary for a great read. I finished it in one sitting and itched to pick it up again immediately after, all for the reason that it was so much more than I expected! :)
BUY or BORROW?: This is one short and sweet book that will always be able to warm your heart, even on those darkest days! I don't care what people say, but this is buy-worthy in my opinion! ;)
on June 21, 2012
5 years, 352 days ago Shelby made a promise to her dying mother. She swore to: 1) always love and listen to her father, 2) love as much as possible, and 3) always live without restraint. After her mother passed away, Shelby's friend, Jonas, came up with a Life List to help her keep Promise Three. At the time we meet Shelby for the first time, her list has more than four hundred items on it, including thins like "jump off the Lake Jocassee trestle like mom did in high school", "put flowers on every grave in a cemetery", and "learn all eighty-eight constellations". So far, Shelby managed to cross out one hundred and three items from the list. In other words, she's been working really hard to keep the promise she gave her mom, and really live her life to the fullest.
Everything seemes to be going great until Shelby's dad decides for them to attend the annual Princess Ball, a father-daughter dance and a Ridgebrook tradition. A dance, that ends with a ceremony during which all the fathers and daughters recite vows. The fathers vow "to be strong, responsible man of integrity and to play a central role in their daughter's lives", and the daughters pledge "to look up to their fathers for guidance and to live whole, pure lives." While Shelby doesn't exactly plan to do drugs or drink large amounts of alcohol, she certainly does not want to put on an invisible chastity belt and commit to life without sex, either. At the same time, she can't disobey her dad's wish - that would be breaking Promise One. She can't vow to stay pure until marriage either, because then she'd be breaking Promise Three - to seize the day and live without restraints. The only way out of this situation seems to be through exploiting a loophole. See, Shelby figured that you can't technically vow not to do something you already did in the past. And so with only five weeks before the dance, Shelby decides to lose her virginity before the vow could force her into a permanent celibate. But is that really what her mother wanted for her? Is that really what her father needs? And does anyone else have the right to decide these things for her?
Pearce approaches the subject of purity and teenage sex with surprising lightness and humour, weaving a story that is utterly delightful and entertaining, while being meaningful and thought-provoking at the same time. This book carries a clear message, and quite an important one at that. It tackles issues such as loss of a family member, sexuality, freedom of choices, religion, and honesty. At the same time, though, it neatly avoids coming across as preachy or too opinionated. The loss of her mother affected Shelby immensely, shifting her whole world and causing her to question her faith. That inevitably lead to her many reflections about God, from talking about her feelings (disappointment, anger, bitterness, confusion), to questioning his existence. While I'm not usually very fond of books with clear religious undertones, I can't say that they bothered me in Purity. I suppose it's because this book was so perfectly balanced, not too serious and not too silly, offering a nearly perfect blend of drama, philosophical reflections and humour. Like I said before, preachiness is always my main concern when it comes to books with religious elements. Thankfully, Purity was free of it, and that made me appreciate it even more.
I loved the characters. Jonas, Ruby, and Shelby made a fabulous trio. I loved seeing them interact with each other - they completed one another in every possible way and had a wonderfully positive attitude towards life and other people. Their friendship was strong and sweet. Jonas and Ruby where always there for Shelby, and they knew her better than she knew herself.
Jackson Pearce did a really great job portraying the awkward relationship between Shelby and her father. Shelby's dad really did not know what to do with his teenage daughter. He was utterly clueless. And, being the exact opposite of an easy-going, turn-everything-into-a-joke dad, he struggled a lot with express his feelings. His shyness and all-too apparent lack of knowledge about the needs of teenage girls was quite heart-warming and I often laughed at the solutions and ideas he would come up with.
I was very pleased with how much the main protagonist grew as a person. As Shelby was trying desperately to find a way to lose her virginity, she slowly began to realize that what her mother asked of her, and what was supposed to help her live her life to the fullest, was in fact holding her back and dictating her every move. She took the promises she made to her mom and turned them into rules, and she followed those rules religiously. She tried so hard to keep her promises, that she failed to fully understand what her mother really wanted of her, and that is to be happy and enjoy her life. Follow her heart, stay true to her dreams, and just.. live! The moment she realizes that, is the moment when she finally starts living.
Overall, Purity is a clever and funny story, but also one that makes you stop and think, as it raises some great, relevant questions. These are the kind of questions that I myself often wanted to ask as a teen, but was either too scared, too ashamed, or simply didn't know who to direct them at. Inevitably, some people will find this book too provocative, others might find the whole racing to lose one's virginity to be nothing short of scandalous (it is a YA novel we're talking about here after all). I myself found it quite refreshing and intriguing, especially its straight forwardness, honesty, and thoughtfulness. It's a wonderful, eye-opening read, I highly recommend it!
on April 24, 2012
The whole idea of a book based on enforced purity and chastity was something that really interested me when I first heard about Jackson Pearce's new contemporary YA, Purity. This is an idea I can relaly relate to, having grown up in the Christian church and hearing about the importance of sexual purity; so I was REALLY curious to see what Jackson would do with this.
And I was in no way disappointed. Purity is so much deeper and more complex than it seems at first glance; it raises a multitude of fantastic questions and is a fantastic representation of how moving and influential contemporary YA can be.
Reasons to Read:
1.Real life application:
Like I mentioned above, Purity brings up some really great questions. But more so than just this, these are applicable questions, ones that just about every teen has asked at some point. Shelby tackles everyting from grief, losing a loved one, promises, love and friendships, sex, and religion. And THAT is no easy task, especially to tackle ALL IN ONE BOOK. I expected this to be a light, humorous read. There's some humour, and it's a shorter book. But no, I wouldn't classify it as "light" reading. By the end of Purity I had totally teared up.
2.There is no black and white:
Nothing is that simple in Purity, as Shelby discovers. Grieving isn't simple. Sex isn't as complicated as one things, nor is it as unattached. Religion and faith are two different things, and they aren't as straightforward as anyone thinks. And THAT'S what I really love about Purity; it doesn't come off preachy in any way. I tend to be wary of books that are both too preachy or that openly mock faith and I had my concerns with this one. Needless to say, I think this is one that finds that balance and does so very, very well.
I love a book that can make a joke, and this kind of wit that makes you laugh just abounds in Purity! And the characters definitely have this nailed (as does Jackson, seeing as she's the author and all that jazz). This adds a whole other aspect to the book, making it an extremely dynamic and multidimensional read.
Needless to say, I was totally overwhelmed and impressed with Jackson's debut into the contemporary YA world. This is a fantastic read that I think is going to be a hit with most readers, and one that is certainly going to raise some questions and conversations for its readers.
ARC received from HBG Canada for review.