The Compulsive Reader: Purity by Jackson Pearce

Friday, May 25, 2012

Purity by Jackson Pearce

For Shelby, the most important thing in her life is keeping the promises she made her mother before she died: listen to her father, live without restraint, and love as much as possible. The loving is something she's working on, and she's got the living without restraint part covered. But the most important one, listening to her father, is tough. And it only gets harder when her dad volunteers to organize the church's Princess Ball. At the ball, daughters attend with their fathers and pledge to stay pure in all aspects of their lives...and Shelby isn't sure if she can make that pledge. So instead she plans to nullify it by formulating a plan to lose her virginity before the ball—which is just about a month away.

Jackson Pearce's Purity will hook many readers with its straightforward, entertaining, and slightly sarcastic voice. Shelby is an engaging and likable narrator. She's had a hard time dealing with her mother's death, and she doesn't know how to interact with her father beyond keeping her promise to listen to him. But she's never had to confront these issues until her father's involvement with the Princess Ball force her to really think about her values and what she wants out of life. Shelby's questions with religion are brought up, but her search for answers doesn't have much depth and brings about only a few small steps. Instead she focuses her attention on her plan to lose her virginity with the support of her eccentric friend Ruby and the reluctant help of her long-time friend Jonas. She doesn't really make any major breakthroughs until she finally confronts her father and is able to be truthful with him. Their relationship is far from ideal by the time the book ends, but there is hope that they can build a better relationship. However, this connection is only made after Shelby's awkward and emotionless sexual encounter with someone she hardly knows, despite the fact that there are people in her life trying to tell her she doesn't need to have sex in order to keep her promise to her mother. Pearce's writing is solid and her characterization is, for the most part, enjoyable. She deals with a lot of pertinent issues and topics that concern many teens, but the execution of this story and its questionable conclusions will probably make it hard for readers to connect with Shelby or her struggles.

Cover Comments: I am loving the blue of the cover. The lock is nice, symbolic, but nothing too exciting. It's a nice cover, but I think it'll be more memorable for its color. At least the lock isn't a cherry...

Review copy provided by publisher.


Alex (A Girl, Books, OtherThings) said...

Oh, too bad it wasn't easier to connect to. And I agree with you about the cover, it's nice but not exciting.

Lauren said...

Jackson Pearce...of the Sisters Red fame? This seems like a very different style from that.

It's a shame that it didn't click with you, and from what you've said I can understand why. Not sure if I'll try this one.

marybelle said...

PURITY sounds like an interesting read, but not an exciting one.