Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 2/8/12
Source: Received from publisher for review.
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.
Pure is a post-apocalyptic tale of survival and hope amid destruction and horror.
Believe it or not, I like it when I am wrong about a book. To have a book that I have written off as something that I would never enjoy, thank you very much, sneak up on me and become a book that I can't put down and forget, even after the last page.When I read the first wave of reviews, before, during and shortly after Pure's release, I was so sure that this story was simply "not for me". I barely like post-apocalyptic stories, let alone those that feature characters so shocking and horrifying as the victims in this bleak book.
But a few months ago, I received an email from a publicist, interested in sending me the new paperback version of the book, and I took a chance. When Pure finally reached the top of my reading pile, I picked it up, gave a weary sigh, and began reading, slightly optimistic, but fairly certain that I would give it up by page one hundred.
I was wrong.
By page one hundred, I was hooked. I was gripped by this cruel future and its brave inhabitants. I was rooting for the brave Pure boy, Partridge, beautiful and unmarred, but lost and damaged in his own way. I was stunned by the courageous Pressia, a girl with a doll's head for a hand. She is a girl with little to hope for from this world, but her simple hope for a connection to her past made my heart ache. I fell in love with Bradwell, a boy who is physically imperfect in comparison to most heroes, but who was beautiful beyond compare. A boy with wings who has a place in his heart for love.
The reality that author Julianna Baggott built in Pure is too much for me to break down in this review. The themes touched included government corruption, science gone mad, nuclear warfare and radiation, and religion...and so much more. The aspect that fascinated me most was the inclusion of the Japanese victims of the atomic bomb, and how the victims of Pure were tied to that.
Honestly, I have really struggled with this review. I think I'm in a bit of shock. Pure made me angry, made me cry, gasp, pull my hair, shout at other readers, cover my mouth when I thought I would scream, cringe, and left me with hope. It is not a love story, yet it is a story about love. This is a book that made me feel all the feelings, and I could not put it down. Pure is a book that will not be forgotten.
"But it's not that he's stuck. No. He remembers the story perfectly. The reason he stops is that he can almost feel his mother. The story released in the air also releases some part of her. He stops so that he can take it in and then it's gone. In these brief moments, he can remember what it was like to be a little boy." (pg. 296)
"Bradwell sits up and toucheds the scar with his fingertip. He looks at her as if his eyes are taking in her entire face, her eyes, her cheeks, her lips. Normally, she's look away, but she can't. 'The scar is beautiful,' he says.
Her heart skitters. She pulls the doll head to her chest. 'Beautiful? It's a scar.'
'It's a sign of survival.'" (pg. 319)
"And his eyes, the gold flecks. Where had they come from? It was if they'd suddenly appeared. Beauty, you can find it here if you look hard enough. Every once in a while, in a quick shot, she'll remember how he looked at her, taking in her entire face. The thought of it makes her nervous, the same feeling as having a secret you hope no one ever finds out about." (pg. 352-3)
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