May 14, 2012

Purity - Jackson Pierce

Young Adult
Pages: 224
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 24, 2012

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.

This was a lot less deep and powerful than I anticipated. When I heard Jackson Pierce was writing a contemporary novel, I just had to have it. I'm not very prone to reading religious or faith books, and while I did expect this to have to do with this, obviously, I didn't expect it to be basically all about that. But, I was also not expecting that I would agree with the ending and would find the message so satisfying for myself. That was surprising and neat. I liked the ending.

This novel will undoubtedly raise questions among all kinds of readers. But besides that fact, and the wonderful writing, I don't feel it brings much more to the table. The romance is very predictable, Shelby's relationship with her father, while uncommon, was also easy to foresee, and there is not much more to the story than that.

Depth is something of great importance, in my opinion, no matter the length of the book. Purity is a short and easy read that goes by quick but is not particularly gripping. Things just sort of happen too fast or too easy to be completely believable, and there is a complete lack of flaws to the characters that made them flat for me.

Of importance: there are a lot of religious/faith questions asked, and the entire story is basically about sexual interactions: how to have them, what they mean, and how most teenage girls are not "pure".

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