Pages: 218 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: Aprils 24th 2012
Synopsis: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.
Sex is definitely a topic that many YA authors are keen to cover. Ever since Judy Blume’s Forever, there have been many attempts to deal with the issues of sex and virginity in books aimed at teenagers. Sometimes, they’re fantastic at getting messages across in a subtle and entertaining way. Others, not so much.
Purity is a book that I’m still on the fence about. The story follows Shelby, a teenager who is about to make a promise at a Princess Ball to keep her virginity until marriage. As she begins to doubt if this is something she really wants, but not wanting to lie to and hurt her father, she makes the decision to try and lose her virginity before making the promise.
I’m torn about the way the story deals with the issue of Shelby wanting to ‘get sex over with’ and I still can’t decide whether the story gives a positive or negative message to young girls. I like the fact that Shelby can make the decisions that she does, and she is a strong character throughout the story, but I’m not sure whether I agree with the way her story played out.
I loved the characters and I really enjoyed the humour that Pearce puts into the story, I’m just not sure if I like it as a whole. One of the best things about this story is the father/daughter relationship and I think the emotions between those two characters are one of the factors that make the story worth reading. Shelby’s friendships also made me want to keep turning the pages.
Overall, however, I’m not sure where this book fits in. It’s not there to provide factual knowledge to teenagers in the way that stories like Forever do, but it’s not completely hilarious enough to be classed as a comical take on the issues of teen sex.
I’ll give this book a three out of five, but only because there were certain moments in the books that I really loved. If those few moments hadn’t been there, I would have rated it less.