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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Purity by Jackson Pearce (Review + Giveaway)

Genre:Young Adult, Contemporary,  Drama
Publication.Date  April 24th 2012
Pages:218
Published By:  Little, Brown Books For Young Readers  | 
WebsiteJackson Pearce | 

Purity - Goodreads
My review copy:Finished Copy received from HBG Canada in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:





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. (Goodreads)



“Maybe even Mom wouldn't get it - why I doubt. Why I question. Maybe no one can understand what this feels like but me. I touch my neck, the spot where the cross charm hangs on Mom's neck. No one can understand because . . . they really don't know any better than I do. No matter what they think, how sure they are they've got everything figured out, they're as in the dark as I am."
When someone you love dies, it feels like the ground is crumbling away, falling into oblivion. The only thing you can do is grab onto all the things closest to you and hold on tight. I grabbed onto the Promises, to Jonas, to God. The first two were there. The last one I could never find.
I don't want to vow anything that has to do with my lady parts.
You think you're going to be able to just tell some guy, "Hey, man, you're on top of my list of People I Wanna Screw Before a Ball. Would you mind removing your pants?"






     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 daughters' lives", and the daughters pledge "to look up to their fathers for guidance and to live whole, pure lives." And that's where it get's tricky. 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 expressing 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!





GIVEAWAY!

Open: Internationally
Ends: July 10th
Enter through Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This review is posted as part of the Contemporary Fiction Month feature!


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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing

55 comments:

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Aww, Evie! I cannot wait to read this one. It just seems like it has the potential to be a really awesome book. I especially love books that focus on parent/kid relationships, and Shelby and her dad's interaction sounds precious.

I love all that you had to say about this one. You REALLY got me interested without giving anything away, and I have a feeling that this one has a few surprises in store!

Bethie said...

This one looks so good. I would love to win it. Thanks for the giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Lili said...

I've been telling a lot of people that I want to get into contemporary fiction again and so many people have pointed me to this book to do just that. Your review makes me think that everyone has been right!

Thank you for the giveaway!

Amy said...

I keep wanting to read this book. It sounds so good. Thanks for the fabulous review. It really makes me want to read this even more.

roro said...

tnx 4 the honest review
i've been waiting to read this for a quite some time
i like hows she grows a person

Lexie said...

Really, really lovely review. I absolutely love the sound of this one--I think it's fantastic when a novel can balance both the heavy and the light, the message and the story. Preachy books can be grating, so when a novel like this manages to avoid that, it's a huge accomplishment. Definitely one I need to check out.

Angie said...

Great review! I keep hearing good things about this one, so hopefully I can move it from my to-read to my read shelf soon! :)

danya said...

I'm glad to hear this one avoids coming off as preachy – that's always a danger when dealing with topics like religion and sex. It's also nice to know that it doesn't take itself too seriously, but at the same time doesn't make light of important issues. I think the whole notion of the Princess Ball, complete with this purity vow, will be a bit different than I'm used to – but hey, that's what books are for! ;D

Ashley said...

Great review! I've had my eye on this book for a while now. I think it sounds like a great 'coming of age' kind of thing. I love a good contemporary book and this one certainly sounds like it fits the bill.

Fingers crossed and thanks for the giveaway! :)

Badass Bookie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Badass Bookie said...

Awww great review Evie!

I loved Jackson's Sister Red and while I know Purity is of an entirely different genre, I was positive it was going to be brilliant as well. Your review just backed up my thoughts :D 5-star rating too! Purity explores some very great issues and now I can't wait to read it :D

Badass Bookie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dani_nguyen said...

I love Jackson's books & can't wait to read this. Especially because you liked it so much! Thanks for the chance to win!

Rebecca said...

Fabulous review, Evie!

I was hesitant about this book because I had read mostly mixed reviews but after reading all your awesome Purity reviews throughout Contemporary month I'm sold!

I am SO eager to read this one. Thanks for yet another lovely giveaway!

Jen said...

Thank you for the awesome giveaway! I real hope i win because i really wanna read this book!
-JennyC

SweetMarie83 said...

I love contemporary fiction, and it feels like forever that I've been wanting to read this book. I've only read Sisters Red of Jackson's, so I'm curious to read something of hers that's contemporary. After reading your review, I'm even more excited to read this book. Thanks for a chance to win a copy! :-)

Felicia said...

I've been seeing this book a lot. Sounds like it'd be an interesting and entertaining read.

Thanks for giving us a chance to win :)

Felicia said...

I've been seeing this book a lot. Sounds like it'd be an interesting and entertaining read.

Thanks for giving us a chance to win :)

Michelle Chew said...

Great review! Can't wait to read about Shelby and her story. Scandalous but interesting. Thanks for having the giveaway too.

Veronika said...

Sounds like a great read! After reaading your review, I can't wait to read it! Thank you for the chance to win!

miki said...

not sure of what i think of this book really but i loved that you took the time to express what could have bothered you and why it didn't


all the best and thanks you for the giveaway

~Enamored Soul~ said...

I love books that approach teenage issues like this with humor, and a light approach. I think it encourages teenagers to read, but also, because they transport us back to our own teenage years, and the issues that we ourselves dealt with. Thank you for your insightful review...I hadn't really planned on reading this book, but after this, I know I DEFINITELY want to read it! :D


Name: Hira Hasnain
Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com

Sarika Patkotwar said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
Looking forward to reading Purity, and great review. :D

Llehn said...

I've only ever read Jackson Pearce's urban fantasies. I love her work and I look forward to reading Purity.

PuttPutt1198Eve said...

It sounds like the relationship between Shelby and her dad has been portrayed in a more realistic manner than in many YA contemporary novels. So often the two of them seem more like friends than parent and child.

Rachel at thejeepdiva said...

This sounds like a good book. Thanks for the review. I like the approach taken with this book. Cant wait to read it.

marybelle said...

I've been wanting to read PURITY for a while now. Your review pushes it up my list that's for sure.

franchie15 said...

Sounds like a great heartwarming story. Can't wait to read this! You made me want it even more.

Bonnie said...

I have to say based on this blurb this book didn't jump out at me as something that I HAD to read (or really something that I was particularly interested in). But after reading your review I'm going to have to rethink it for sure! The characters sound brilliant, and it really does sound like an interesting story line. I love reading about different family dynamics and am interested to see what is going on with the father in this story.

Excellent review and thanks so much for taking the time to share your beautiful thoughts on this book! :)

Megan @ Unearthly Reviews said...

just so you know, my GFC entry messed up. In the rafflecopter my name is Megan Blackwell and my GFC name is Megan @ Unearthly Reviews. Sorry!

I love your review! I really like how you dissect everything and explain it.I agree with you, I definitely think this is going to be an eye-opening read. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

Randi M said...

I've been wary of this book just because of the religious aspect - I typically get annoyed/don't enjoy preachy books, so I'm glad to hear that it does not come off as such! And glad to read your review. :) Thanks for sharing!

Ashley G. said...

Very excited about this book! Great review. Thanks for the giveaway!

Sierra Abrams said...

Yep - I'm definitely excited to read this! As a Christian, I'm very interested in hearing what Pearce has to say about God's existence, and the struggles Shelby goes through. I know I've doubted and struggled in similar ways (my sister died and my dad was diagnosed with stage 3C cancer - he's alive, thank God!), so I love when I can relate to a character like that. Shelby sounds awesome, the romance sounds awesome, and it alsoooo sounds like Pearce did an excellent job writing about a touchy subject.

This review was great - very informative! Thanks so much! (For the review and the giveaway!)

Sierra @ Yearning to Read

Bookie Bee said...

I read Sisters Red and absolutely LOVED it. Then I read the excerpt of Purity somewhere and have been dying to read it ever since. Your review has made me want it even more.
Though the subject is provocative, it sounds like a fun read to me. Definitely interested! :)

Denise Z said...

Thank you for sharing with us today. I like a book that is well written with a good story, but also can provide insight on various issues. Purity certainly sounds like it achieves that goal :)

Sophia said...

I haven't read a single Jackson Pearce book, but I've heard amazing things. :) The vow that Shelby makes sounds a bit unrealistic, but I'm happy to hear that other things (such as the relationship between her and her father) are realistic! Wonderful, informative review! <3

Michelle @ Book Briefs said...

I have been wanting to read one of Jackson's books. I have heard some really good things. This one looks like its will be really interesting and real.

Thanks for the great review, as always

Jennifer @ A Librarians Library said...

This book is one that I have wanted to read for a while! I am glad to know that this YA contemporary realistically showcases the raw emotions of real situations. Thanks for the review, Evie.

Filia Oktarina said...

This review make me curious about this book. Look like i must check info about this book. Thanks for sharing :)

Luisa Freiheit said...

Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. I can't decide if I would like it or not cause I've heard there's a lot of religious talk in it but it seems its not all that bad :P
Jackson is a great author and I'm looking forward to reading this book!
Penny Pe

said...

Your review is wonderful :) It is good, that you enjoyed reading this book. :) It seems like a really GOOD book! :) WOW! I want to read it right now ! :)

(I am like "Vendula" in form)

Lis said...

Oh my! This book sounds soo sweet and so cute. Can`t wait to have the chance to read it.- I need it know, it`s been a while since I dn`t read books like this!

ferina said...

I have read other Jackson Pearce's books - Sisters Red and Sweetly. I am sure will love this one.
Hope it's my luck :)

Tanja - Tanychy said...

I haven't read this book, but cover is really beautiful! Blue is my favourite colour! :)
Great review and thanks for the giveaway! :)

Aleksandra said...

Sounds like a great read. I'm not a fan of too religious tones or preachiness, so I'm glad that this one isn't like that, but is almost perfect balanced ;) I think I'll enjoy this book, so thanks for the review & the opportunity to win it :)

iloverocky27 said...

Thanks for introducing me to this book, it sounds really good! Loved the very in depth review, thanks for the giveaway :)

londonjudge@verizon.net

iloverocky27 said...

Thanks for introducing me to this book, it sounds really good! Loved the very in depth review, thanks for the giveaway :)

londonjudge@verizon.net

Gabrielly said...

Thanks for the opportunity to win this!

AmelArmeliana said...

Thank u for this awesome giveaway and making it international. It's so generous of you. The book sounds really interesting. I'd love to read it. Wish I'm the lucky one to win the book ;)

Eli Yanti said...

this book sounds great and really want to know the ending, nice review, you make me curious :/

FairyWhispers said...

I've wanted to read this one for so long!

great review btw

FireStarBooks said...

Wow! I always looove your review! I love how this book tackles so many issues. <3 Great!

Sana said...

Wow, this definitely sounds like a book with a different vibe attached to it! I have seen the cover around but I never got around reading the synopsis. Well, my bad 'cause I really like the sound of it.

When there are so many books out there with sex in them, this one does take a different approach towards it!

Great review, Evie.

Sam said...

This books sounds awesome! I haven't read anything by Jackson Pearce yet but you make her sound very promising!

Nataly said...

I have had this book on my to-read list ever since I heard about it and bu reading your review and understanding the basic lessons of the book, I'm even more excited to read it!! Can't wait to get my hands on it and thanks for the giveaway:)

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