Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Review: Purity by Jackson Pearce

Title: Purity
Author: Jackson Pearce
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: 6th March 2014

Tell Me About It
Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: listen to her father, love as much as possible, and live without restraint. Those Promises become hard to keep when Shelby's dad joins the committee for the Princess Ball, where girls must take a vow of purity - no "bad behaviour", no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.

Torn between Promises, 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 begins to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.
My Thoughts
I have followed Jackson Pearce for a while, and have also heard of her books, but for some reason I have yet to actually pick one up. When I saw Purity in a blogger newsletter I knew I had to request a copy. The synopsis had me instantly intrigued and I needed to know more.

Shelby, the protagonist, made three promises to her Mother, not knowing they were going to be promises to her dying mother, and that she would never see her again after making these promises.
  1. She would always listen to her father
  2. Love as much as possible
  3. Live life without restraint
After losing her Mother, Shelby does all she can to not break them, even if it means finding a way around them, finding any loophole she can. For example if her Dad says not to do that again to Shelby and her friends, then technically Shelby can still do it. However if he specifically says don't do that again Shelby, then she can't do it, at all, ever again. So with the Princess Ball coming up, and Shelby's dad wanting her to participate, there is a problem. By taking the vows with her Dad, Shelby will be going against her Mothers dying wishes.

Purity was an interesting read, and it definitly kept me reading, wanting to find out what would Shelby finally do. While Shelby does what she can to keep to her promises, it is her friend Ruby who is responsible for planting the seeds in Shelby's head about losing her virginity, and Jonas is the one in charge of finding a suitable male candidate for her. The list they had running was short, with only a handful of names on it, and while Jonas my have been asked for his opinion, he certainly doesn't seem happy about it at all.

While the focus of Purity is about Shelby in her bid to make the vows to her Dad and not break promises to her Mother, it is also about Shelby finding herself, and discovering what the promises really mean. It's not until we get to near the end of the book that Shelby has this revelation, but seeing her finally realise she doesn't have to work so hard to keep the promises word for word was a relief for all involved.

Purity also touches on religion, with the vows being taken in front of everyone at the Princess Ball, some of those in attendance being very religious people. The vows are a way for the Princesses to basically promise to abstain from drugs, drink, and no sex until they are married, and make these to their Fathers. However the religious aspect is not thrown in your face, or forced down your throat, it is a subtle undertow to the story that makes the promises and vows that much more important to Shelby, and her Dad.

After finishing Purity I am left with two thoughts....
  • I would love to have been able to read a few chapters more to find out what happens in the end.
  • I really need to get hold of some more of Jackson's books.

About Jackson
Jackson Pearce currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy and currently works for a software company even though she auditioned for the circus (she juggled and twirled fire batons, but they still didn’t want her). Other jobs she’s had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist.

Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn’t tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since

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