Purity – Jackson Pearce

“‘When I said it, I didn’t mean it. I just wanted to go home after another long day in the ICU. But then, I didn’t know it was really the end.

‘Promise me something,’ My mom said, her voice cracking, a whisper, over the hum of the machines that latched onto her body.'”

When 10 year old Shelby agrees to the three promises her mum asks of her she doesn’t realise they will be the last words her mum ever says. 6 years on Shelby is desperately trying to stick to her mothers dying wishes but with her dad planning a father-daughter Princess Ball, during which she will pledge to stay ‘pure,’ the proimises are battling against each other. She has to love and listen to her father, which means taking the vow, whilst living without restraint. But how can she do both keeping her mum’s promise while not breaking her dads heart?

***


Jackson Pearce’s fantasy books are some of my favourite books from the past few years, I couldn’t get enough of them when I read them but I was still a bit wary of a contemporary from the author due to the change in genre. I needn’t have worried though as Purity was absolutely fantastic and really makes you think, with a lot of serious issues tackled really well.

The story concentrates on Shelby following the promises of her mother and making sure she lives without restraint. She has loopholes so that she can get around the first promise – loving and listening to her father – and has a list of things she wants to do during her life. In the beginning of the book she is jumping from a high viaduct into a lake just like her mom did in her senior year, before getting home to find out about the Princess Ball. The purity vow is the thing shes worried about the most and her and her friends set about trying to find a loophole, in order to keep her dad happy but keep the promise at the same time.

The whole story is about Shelby trying to work out exactly what her mum meant by the promises, about her becoming more in tune with what her father wants and about sex and the whole notion of virginity. I really enjoyed the questions it raised about sex and how its sometimes made a bigger deal of than it actually is. The questions running through Shelby’s head about the whole thing, the attitude from her two best friends Ruby and Jonas, and the response of the guys Shelby approaches to carry out the act were all incredibly interesting and I loved that all the characters were very different in their approach. I absolutely loved Jeffery as a character and his reaction to the whole thing and I thought it made a very good point in the idea of virginity and sex. I don’t think sex should be as much as a massive deal as it is and its different for everyone so it was good to get this kind of approach across too.

I will definitely be recommending Purity to a lot of other readers and think it should be one available in high school and sixth form libraries, even if it just for older kids. I loved its approach, Pearce’s writing and the characters we meet in the book, I loved what the book said about family and the people we are meant to love unconditionally and I loved its entire outcome, it was real and true to life and really shouldn’t be missed.

Purity was released on March 6th by Hodder Children’s Books. My copy was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. 

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