Book Review: Purity by Jackson Pearce

Reviewed by: Destiny
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 218
Published: 24th April 2012
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source:Publisher for Review
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Buy: Amazon UK I Amazon US 

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.


I really enjoyed seeing author Jackson Pearce break off from her fairy-tale re-tellings with Purity. She introduces us to Shelby, a teenager whose life is bound by three Promises she made to her dying mother. So far her life has run smoothly and following the Promises has been easy.

One day her father tells her about the Princess Ball, a ball where fathers and daughters attend, and the daughter vows to wait to have sex until marriage. This is an extremely common tradition where I am from (minus the Ball). However, Shelby's situation is unique. She has Promised to obey her father and live life without restraint, but isn't so willing to vow to remain a virgin.

She devises a loophole to get around other issues, thus decides a loophole is needed for this particular task. She enlists her two best friends and between them all, they find a way for her to be happy and keep the Promises.

Shelby and her father were interesting to watch develop, as both have essentially lost their emotional connection since her mother died. I also found it very easy to relate to Shelby and her feelings on the issue.

Jackson Pearce does a fantastic job of bringing a topic that is rarely discussed into light and sheds a new perspective on family and friendship. Her characters were real, flawed, easy to relate to, and made this book impossible to put down!!!

Rate: 5/5


  1. This sounds amazing!!! Fab review. and welcome back!!

  2. I've been looking forward to this book, I find the premise interesting and your review is great!

  3. Thank you! It is fab to be back too! I could really relate to the main character bc my church had a purity "dance" in 8th grade (no parental involvement like in the book). Jackson Pearce captured her feelings wonderfully!


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