Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book Review: Purity

A 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.

Purityis the first book I've read by Jackson Pearce. And it definitely won't be the last. I picked it up thinking it would be fun and light. I was so wrong. Although, it might be a bit lighter for others.

Shelby's sixteen, and she's trying to keep three promises that her mother made her promise before she passed, six years prior. Promise one - to listen to her father - has made her one of the most obedient teens ever. However, her father is kinda distant, so if her father doesn't know about something, he can't say "no", and she can still do as she pleases. And she has a long list of things her father probably wouldn't approve of, but promise three - to live without restraint has her jumping off bridges into water and stealing cars. It's much less radical than it sounds, though. But promise two - to love as much as possible gets lost.

Shelby and her friends come home to find Pastor Ryan having a conversation with her dad. They're planning a Princess Ball. Which is basically a dance for fathers and daughters, where fathers promise to be good role models and support their daughters, while the girls promise to stay pure... meaning no drinking, no drugs, and no sex. Shelby's already sampled alcohol, so she feels exempt from that one. But how can she live without restraint and love as much as possible if she has to promise no sex before marriage? A friend decides the only loophole would be to have sex before the Princess Ball.

Purity had me in tears on almost every other page. But as I said about, it might be a lighter read for others. While my father never suggested we go to a Princess Ball - he'd be more freaked out about having to dance with me at a function than anything else, and I'd run away before I'd go to one - our relationship is very much like Shelby and her dad's. My dad and I hardly ever talk. And since my mom passed away - from breast cancer, like Shelby's - we talk even less. I'm an adult, and I don't live at home anymore, but when I did we more or less lived around each other, never really interacting. It always made me sad that my father and I never really got along. We have virtually nothing in common, and spending time with him is sometimes awkward. My mom and I were extremely close. When I lost her, I lost my best friend. It was really easy for me to step into Shelby's shoes and understand her pain and confusion. This book was a very powerful read for me.

If you haven't picked this one up, and are in the mood for a good contemporary, definitely consider this one. And if you like audiobooks, I heard Jackson Pearce narrates this one herself.


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