Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review ~ PURITY, by Jackson Pearce

PurityA 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. ~From GoodReads

Shelby Crewe made three promises to her dying mother. To always listen to her dad, to love as much as possible and to live her life without limits. She has spent the six years since making good on those promises, especially the last promise. But there's a problem. If she always listens to her dad, she can't live without limits. So Shelby has a "loophole" system. If her dad isn't specific about a rule, she can work around it. When Shelby's dad signs them up for the annual Princess Ball that will force her to make a vow of purity until marriage, Shelby only has one way around it. She must lose her purity before taking the vow. That decision sets Shelby up on a quest to find the right guy to give her virginity to, but she also discovers what she's lost in her single-minded goal of fulfilling her mother's wishes.

PURITY was not what I expected. I thought the story would be more of a closer look at Purity (or Princess) Balls. A cautionary tale of what happens when you let a group decide what's best for you and your body. For those who may not know, a purity ball consists of several vows, among those, vowing your "purity" to your father. I for one, think that's creepy. But honestly, while the question of the vow does play a big part in the story, I found the heart of PURITY to be Shelby's relationships.

While Shelby's mother asked her to keep the promises to her father to help them remain close, it actually caused a distance between them. I went into the story sure that I would dislike Shelby's dad. He does sign her up for a purity ball, after all. But as the story unfolded, I began to realize that he is simply lacking direction. He's not a bad guy at all, simply misguided. Shelby is a girl with strong conviction. Even if she's not sure that her decision is the best, she will follow through, no matter what. She is incredulous every step of the way, even questioning the pastor as to why boys don't have "Prince Balls". And I admire that Shelby wasn't afraid to stand up for herself and her body. Shelby's friends, Ruby and Jonas were simply brilliant. Ruby was a riot, a great relief for the drama. She continually pulled through for Shelby when needed. Jonas was Shelby's compass. He was always there, no matter if he thought Shelby was wrong. I enjoyed seeing their friendship unfold in new ways.

PURITY is a funny, thought-provoking story. I was charmed from the opening lines, and read it in only a few hours. I was surprised by the development of the story. OH! I can't go without saying: If you love the movie Sixteen Candles, you will love last few chapters of PURITY. Maybe it was just me, but I felt a "Jake Ryan standing at his car after the church" moment. If nothing else, that should seal the deal for some of you!

Favorite Quote:

(A funny moment when a friend was describing the sexual status of the HS band.)
" 'I'd also say most of the horn line has played the game, and the majority of the horn line has gone hot and heavy with a girl or two - usually from the woodwind section. People always figure it's the color guard, but seriously, it's the woodwinds you've got to look out for.' " (pg.47)

Published April 24th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

You can purchase PURITY at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository

Source: A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review purpose.


  1. "I for one, think that's creepy." Ditto! and LOL @ questioning the pastor as to why boys don't have "Prince Balls". Right?! Why is there all this pressure for girls to be "pure" and boys can do whatever. Really irritating. I love the premise of this book and her trying to keep her promises. Like you I kind of think her dad is weird for signing her up but also maybe he is just a bit lost and thought it might be a nice way to bond. I will have to read it and see what I think of him.

  2. I'd been wondering about this book for a while, should I? Shouldn't I? And you're right the idea of girls vowing their "purity" to their fathers is beyond creepy!But I think I'll check it out now. Thanks for the great review! :)

  3. I'm so glad for the reviews of this book, including yours, because if I'd read the blurb alone, I probably would have skipped this thinking it was going to be all about those weird vows and a dad ruling his daughter's life. I am so happy to hear it's not just about that and that it's quite fun!

  4. I adore Jackson Pearce (you should check her vlogs :D), but haven't had the chance to read Purity yet. Great review! Looking forward reading it.

  5. I have been really wanting to read this book. It sounds great. Ruby sounds like a character I would enjoy. I love the "fun" character. After reading your review, and lets be honest, the Sixteen Candles reference, I think I need to read this one. Awesome review chick!!

  6. LOL. The woodwinds?! WHAT!? I was a woodwind... great quote. Sounds like a good read.

  7. I've read some other good reviews of this book. I didn't know Princess Balls were real! I am glad kids are asking why there aren't Prince Balls! LOL. Great review, as always!

  8. I'd really like to read this one. AND I DO love Jake Ryan, but I love you more!

  9. Not sure I would have given this a second look if not for your review. Thanks for sharing.


  10. I am curious to see how Shelby's plan unfolds. It sounds like a serious but also fun story. Thanks for sharing and for the great review :D


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