Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Purity ~ Jackson Pearce (eARC) review

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
April 24, 2012
218 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Just before her mother died, ten-year-old Shelby promised she would do three things: listen to her father, love as much as possible, and live without restraint. It's been fairly easy to follow those three promises so far - she avoids having her father tell her not to actually do something so that she can still follow through on the third promise and even has a list of (sometimes crazy) things she hopes to accomplish in life.

But when her father tells her about the Princess Ball where daughters vow to live a 'pure' life (no drugs, no sex until marriage and no alcohol until age 21), Shelby finds herself torn between Promise One and Promise Three. Until, she finds a loophole. Just like the one that allows her to do crazy things as long as her dad tells her best friend Jonas or someone else not to do them, Shelby has found a way around the chastity vow for the ball.

If she loses her virginity before the ball, the vow will be void and therefore she can make it and not be lying to her father but still not break Promise Two or Promise Three to her mother.

When I heard that Jackson Pearce was writing a contemporary YA about a purity ball, I was in a bit of love . . . and I so wanted to stay in it. But, I didn't.

I actually had a hard time finishing Purity. Shelby's mother makes her promise to 'listen' to her father and somehow Shelby takes that as doing exactly what her father says - if he says don't do x she can't do x. I can understand listening to him but just because he wants her to do the purity ball doesn't mean she can't voice some disapproval. To me, 'listen to your father,' doesn't quite translate to 'blindly obey - while finding any loophole around doing what your father says.'

Shelby didn't talk to her father about her discomfort with the vows, or anything at all, really. I had a hard time connecting with a character who makes a promise to her mother to listen to her father and then, because she doesn't want to vow to remain a virgin until marriage (or tell her father so), plans to lose her virginity in seven weeks.

The ending (as it pertained to two characters) was one I could see coming from the very beginning. It wasn't a big to-do at the end so it wasn't particularly rewarding, it was just something predictable throughout the story.

I still love the idea of a contemporary YA about the purity balls - and what they really mean; whether girls are taking them seriously or just doing it to look good to outsiders, how their families feel about it, if it's like a Deb Ball but with the vows and really just a society thing . . . I love all of that, but I didn't quite find it in Purity.

Here are two reviews one and two by bloggers who liked Purity more than I did - you might get a different sense of the book from them (I think they were able to connect with it more than I did).

As I said, I'm a Jackson Pearce fan and do hate that I didn't like this one - I'm hoping for more contemporary YA from here, though.

Rating: 5/10

thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley for review

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