Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Purity by Jackson Pearce

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Purity
Jackson Pearce
Release date: April 24th, 2012
by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Goodreads / Purchase

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.

*A copy was provided by Hachette Book Group Canada for review purposes*

You have 5 weeks to lose your virginity… Go!

To keep her promises to her dying mother, Shelby has to find a loophole that will let her get away with breaking the vows she has to take in a few weeks. The answer: she has to have sex, STAT. A plot that starts out as mostly fluff and a bit silly, comes off being surprisingly touching by the end. I admit some things in this plot are a bit irrational. How she works around the promises, making decisions that are sometimes foolish and irresponsible, but underneath it all I could understand why Shelby thought she was doing the right thing. She is, after all, guided (or misguided) from a life lived by these promises; her only parental guidance in a way.

I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of things in this book. The first is the hilariously funny narration. The humor is so honestly clever that it catches you off guard for laugh-out-loud-and-spit-coffee-all-over-the-book moments. I loved it! The second is the inclusion of a recurring religious subject matter in the plot. Do not be put off by this, though. I usually immediately shy away from religious content, but Pearce writes it into the narration – a teenager’s point of view – while introducing realistic and shockingly (in my case) appealing thoughts on the matter. Shelby is questioning god’s existence, unable to believe in a god that would take her mom. Her thoughts on this intrigued me greatly.

Her mother’s promises, the princess ball, losing her virginity are all big storylines in the book. However, the one that is constantly hovering above all others, is Shelby’s relationship with her father. Not having a mother figure to turn to, she’s had difficulty connecting with him; merely running through the motions. As much as this book can be silly, fun, and fluffy, I can’t deny the emotional punch of this father/daughter connection – or lack thereof. In the end, it’s the most important side of this story, and one that will undoubtedly touch you.

In only 218 pages, Purity dishes out a great story full of laughter and heart. Even though we don’t explore the many topics we encounter in great depths, we do tap into a lot of different issues, whether thought provoking or just there for fun. In the end, it’s clearly meant for a light read with a lot of laughs and moving circumstances. 

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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35 Responses to “Review: Purity by Jackson Pearce”

  1. Aylee

    This one seems to be controversial from the reviews I read. I guess a lot of people were offended by it. But from the sound of your review, it’s not meant to be taken too seriously so as long as I keep that in mind, I’m sure I will see it as a light, fun read too.

  2. Giselle

    @Aylee: I could see that. Whenever there’s mention of religion an finding loopholes to get away with lying on a vow you make to god, it’s def. gonna rile up some people but I’m not very religious and I got that this was meant to be a light fun read. I wasn’t offended by anything in this. And really, I can truly see some teenagers really doing this. I’ve seen worse so It’s def. not far fetched.

  3. Amy

    I have had this on my TBR list for a while. It sounds really good. I like light and entertaining reads that also deal with real life stuff!! Great review!!

  4. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I’d never even heard about Jackson Pearce until Maggie Stiefvater mentioned her in one of her blog posts (apparently they’re friends) and I’ve been wanting to read one of her books ever since. It’s comforting to know that this has actual emotional depth. I try to stay away from pure fluff as much as possible, but it would seem that this isn’t it. Thanks, Giselle.

  5. Nick

    This looks like the kind of book I would enjoy reading, especially since it’s narration is humorous! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Giselle 🙂

  6. Giselle

    Thanks guys!

    @Maja: I was actually surprised that it ended up having real emotions since it started very fluffy.

    @The Autumn Review : That was possibly my own since I just got it last week 🙂

  7. @HarleyBearBooks

    I hadn’t heard about this book until I stumbled across Jackson’s liveshow that she has every Tuesday night. She skypes and answers everyone in the chat room’s questions and stuff. If her writing is anything like her personality/sense of humor during those liveshows then I can’t wait to read the book. Great Review btw. -Melissa @Harley Bear Book Blog

  8. Reve @ YA Books

    I’ve seen Purity around a lot lately, but it never really crossed my mind to pick a copy. Reading your review, though, I think I might just read it! The premise definitely sounds interesting, and I’m quite interested to see how the whole losing her virginity thing and mom dying correlates. Great review!

  9. Lexie

    Really, really lovely review. While I’ve seen some mixed opinions on this one, I think I’ll have to pick it up. I love books that have genuine, laugh-out-loud funny moments, and I love it when family plays a prominent role in YA novels. Also, you’re not the first person to say the religious aspect was handled very well, so I won’t have to worry about that. 😀

  10. Sam

    I only just discovered this book and have no idea how I could have missed it. It sounds amazing! I need something that will make me laugh so hard I end up with coffee all over my book and this sounds like the perfect book. 😉 Awesome review!

  11. Mary @SweepingMe

    I love funny books. Especially ones that catch you off guard! That makes them even better. Sometimes I just need a book that is not going to be so…..ummm… melancholy.

    Great Review!

    Mary

  12. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I’ve been intrigued about this for awhile. Sounds like a cute and fun read but I was unsure about the religious aspects. I too often shy away from books heavy on religion. I just thought the idea of her trying to lose her virginity quick for her mom before she promises to never have sex again for her dad sounded hilarious. Hopefully in the end she just does something for only her.

  13. Sarahbotbonkers

    Laugh-out-loud-and-spit-coffee-all-over-the-book moments? Thanks for the warning. I’ll stay away from any liquids or food while reading this. HAHA! This is a very good review, Giselle. This book was not on the very top of my TBR but you sold the book for me. I think we need a moving + fluffy story once in a while. 🙂

  14. Danny

    I love this idea! It sounds like such a great book which is light, fun but at the same time deals with some strong and important YA topics. I haven’t read a book from Jackson Pearce before, but this one is definitely on my wish list!
    Thank you for mentioning the religious aspect, I totally and truly shy away and I really do not like stories that go deep into religious aspects..

  15. Giselle

    Thanks guys!!
    And no the religious aspect is very well done. I wasn’t expecting it at all but it’s actually very interesting the way it’s questioned.

    @Bookish Brunette: Bahaha you crack me up!! >.<

    @Grad Student: You’re the 2nd person to mention her vlog I have to check em out! I’m sure it’s funny there were great LOL moments in this!

  16. Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf

    This book sounds like a great mix of fun and really emotional moments. Love a book that has a father/daughter relationship. I haven’t read too many of those…either the parents are absent or it’s the mother that plays the main supporting role.

  17. Janus Vielle Aragones

    I love your first line on this review! It made me go: Whaaaaaaat???!!! LOL.

    I haven’t given this book much thought but seeing your opinion about it gave me a push to try it. I’ll get a copy some time and hopefully get the chance to read it. ^_^

  18. A. Knight @ Paranormal Indulgence

    Oh, I love books that can go from silly and adorable to touching and wrenching in a heartbeat. And for a book this short to accomplish ALL those THINGS… well, I’m impressed. I’ve never read anything by Pearce, but this sounds excellent and the really the perfect dose of contemporary fun!

  19. fishgirl182

    glad you liked this one. i have a copy but haven’t read it yet. the premise sounds pretty interesting and it’s so short. i’ll probably read it soon. 🙂

  20. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    Ohh, I absolutely love those kind of LOL books!! This one sounds like it would be funny, but I’m glad it’s got a bit more too! I’m SUPER curious about it. A friend is reading it right now too, so I guess I’ll be even more teased very soon. ;o Fantastic review!

  21. Camille Picott

    Thanks for sharing your review. I totally remember the pressure to remain a virgin in high school — the public vows, etc. Sounds like the author tackled the subject matter and handled it well!

  22. Rebecca

    I’ll admit that I’ve been wanting to read this since I saw the cover on someone’s blog. I didn’t even know what it was about, but seems I got some of it right. 🙂

    I’m definitely going to be checking it out now. You’re an amazing and enthralling reviewer!

    Rebecca @ Vicariously