Book Review: Purity by Jackson Pearce

Jackson Pearce proves that it is possible to address heavy subjects with a light hand in her standalone YA novel Purity, about one girl’s quest to lose her virginity:

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.

With subject matter like the death of a parent, sex, and religion at the heart of the novel, you’d expect Purity to be a heavy-handed tale in morality. It’s really anything but. Pearce has crafted a novel about family and love, about making your own choices and being your own person, and about finding the path that fits you. It’s about personal life decisions, and how there’s no one “right way” for everyone.

For the most part, Purity is a light-hearted tale that addresses serious issues without taking itself too seriously. It’s not preachy or overly critical of any one decision. The novel shows that it’s okay to: wait to have sex; to have sex as a teenager; to have sex without a committed relationship. The novel shows that sex is a personal choice, and as long as you’re making the right decision for YOU, then it’s the right choice. No matter what.

Purity is in stores now.

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