3.38 (1,834 ratings by Goodreads)
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"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.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 218 pages
  • 147 x 216 x 22mm | 331g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 031618246X
  • 9780316182461
  • 422,317

Review quote

"A hilarious and heartfelt story about what happens when a teenage girl actually tries to honor all the promises that adults demand from her while staying true to herself. I loved this book." "Jennifer Echols, award-winning author of "Endless Summer" and "Love Story"""
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About Jackson Pearce

Jackson Pearce is the author of Sisters Red, Sweetly, and As You Wish. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Rating details

1,834 ratings
3.38 out of 5 stars
5 18% (339)
4 27% (496)
3 35% (641)
2 14% (257)
1 6% (101)

Our customer reviews

Shelby Crewe made three promises to her dying mother. To always listen to her dad, to love as much as possible and to live her life without limits. She has spent the six years since making good on those promises, especially the last promise. But there's a problem. If she always listens to her dad, she can't live without limits. So Shelby has a "loophole" system. If her dad isn't specific about a rule, she can work around it. When Shelby's dad signs them up for the annual Princess Ball that will force her to make a vow of purity until marriage, Shelby only has one way around it. She must lose her purity before taking the vow. That decision sets Shelby up on a quest to find the right guy to give her virginity to, but she also discovers what she's lost in her single-minded goal of fulfilling her mother's wishes. PURITY was not what I expected. I thought the story would be more of a closer look at Purity (or Princess) Balls. A cautionary tale of what happens when you let a group decide what's best for you and your body. For those who may not know, a purity ball consists of several vows, among those, vowing your "purity" to your father. I for one, think that's creepy. But honestly, while the question of the vow does play a big part in the story, I found the heart of PURITY to be Shelby's relationships. While Shelby's mother asked her to keep the promises to her father to help them remain close, it actually caused a distance between them. I went into the story sure that I would dislike Shelby's dad. He does sign her up for a purity ball, after all. But as the story unfolded, I began to realize that he is simply lacking direction. He's not a bad guy at all, simply misguided. Shelby is a girl with strong conviction. Even if she's not sure that her decision is the best, she will follow through, no matter what. She is incredulous every step of the way, even questioning the pastor as to why boys don't have "Prince Balls". And I admire that Shelby wasn't afraid to stand up for herself and her body. Shelby's friends, Ruby and Jonas were simply brilliant. Ruby was a riot, a great relief for the drama. She continually pulled through for Shelby when needed. Jonas was Shelby's compass. He was always there, no matter if he thought Shelby was wrong. I enjoyed seeing their friendship unfold in new ways. PURITY is a funny, thought-provoking story. I was charmed from the opening lines, and read it in only a few hours. I was surprised by the development of the story. OH! I can't go without saying: If you love the movie Sixteen Candles, you will love last few chapters of PURITY. Maybe it was just me, but I felt a "Jake Ryan standing at his car after the church" moment. If nothing else, that should seal the deal for some of you! Favorite Quote: (A funny moment when a friend was describing the sexual status of the HS band.) " 'I'd also say most of the horn line has played the game, and the majority of the horn line has gone hot and heavy with a girl or two - usually from the woodwind section. People always figure it's the color guard, but seriously, it's the woodwinds you've got to look out for.' " (pg.47)show more
by Andrea Thompson
The whole idea of a book based on enforced purity and chastity was something that really interested me when I first heard about Jackson Pearce's new contemporary YA, Purity. This is an idea I can relaly relate to, having grown up in the Christian church and hearing about the importance of sexual purity; so I was REALLY curious to see what Jackson would do with this. And I was in no way disappointed. Purity is so much deeper and more complex than it seems at first glance; it raises a multitude of fantastic questions and is a fantastic representation of how moving and influential contemporary YA can be. Reasons to Read: 1.Real life application: Like I mentioned above, Purity brings up some really great questions. But more so than just this, these are applicable questions, ones that just about every teen has asked at some point. Shelby tackles everyting from grief, losing a loved one, promises, love and friendships, sex, and religion. And THAT is no easy task, especially to tackle ALL IN ONE BOOK. I expected this to be a light, humorous read. There's some humour, and it's a shorter book. But no, I wouldn't classify it as "light" reading. By the end of Purity I had totally teared up. 2.There is no black and white: Nothing is that simple in Purity, as Shelby discovers. Grieving isn't simple. Sex isn't as complicated as one things, nor is it as unattached. Religion and faith are two different things, and they aren't as straightforward as anyone thinks. And THAT'S what I really love about Purity; it doesn't come off preachy in any way. I tend to be wary of books that are both too preachy or that openly mock faith and I had my concerns with this one. Needless to say, I think this is one that finds that balance and does so very, very well. 3.Humour!: I love a book that can make a joke, and this kind of wit that makes you laugh just abounds in Purity! And the characters definitely have this nailed (as does Jackson, seeing as she's the author and all that jazz). This adds a whole other aspect to the book, making it an extremely dynamic and multidimensional read. Needless to say, I was totally overwhelmed and impressed with Jackson's debut into the contemporary YA world. This is a fantastic read that I think is going to be a hit with most readers, and one that is certainly going to raise some questions and conversations for its readers. ARC received from HBG Canada for review.show more
by Brenna Staats
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