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Pure (The Pure Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 469 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"Illuminae" by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
"Brace yourself. You're about to be immersed in a mindscape that you'll never want to leave." —Marie Lu, The New York Times best-selling author. Learn more | See more by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Editorial Reviews Review

A Q&A Between Justin Cronin and Julianna Baggott

Justin Cronin is the author of The Passage.

Justin Cronin: As Pure opens up we meet a girl named Pressia, who has a doll-head fused to one hand and a crescent-shaped burn around one eye.  Where did this image and character come from?

Julianna Baggott: The doll-head fist first appeared in a series of strange, otherworldly short stories. At the same time, I wanted to write something really ambitious, large in scope with cinematic world-building. Not thinking of either of these things, I sat down one day and started writing a dreamy stream of consciousness from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl, hiding in an ashen cabinet in the back of a burnt-out barbershop. I then realized that this girl had a doll-head fused to her fist and that the landscape outside of this barbershop was that ambitious cinematic landscape I'd been longing to write. The two things knit together, and Pressia found her true home.

Justin Cronin: Pure presents a dystopian future after the "Detonations."  What is it about post-apocalyptic fiction that attracted you as a writer and strikes a particular chord with readers today?

Julianna Baggott: Pressia is someone who finds small moments of beauty even amid all of the destruction of this post-apocalyptic world. That was one of the challenges--creating a character who's capable of seeing beauty, who's resilient and tough, and still has hope. I think that our world right now feels precarious--economically and politically--and therefore readers might be drawn to fiction that reflects the necessary toughness that so many people are relying on to survive. But, too, readers might be drawn Pure because the teen years can feel post-apocalyptic, and, on that level, Pure reflects a kind of emotional honesty that feels real.  

Justin Cronin: In the world of Pure, who are the Pures and who are the Wretches?

Julianna Baggott: The novel opens with Pressia who has survived the Detonations and is therefore a Wretch. But we also get the perspective of Partridge who's survived the Detonations inside of a protective Dome; he's a Pure. He's always believed that his mother died a saint while trying to save people during the Detonations. When he finds that this might not be true, he escapes the Dome to find her. The two characters' lives are set on a collision course and become entwined in many twisted ways that make this book a thriller.

Justin Cronin: The cover of Pure includes a striking image of a blue butterfly. What does the butterfly symbolize?

Julianna Baggott: The novel will hopefully force readers to think about what it means to be truly pure--pure of heart. The blue butterfly can represent the Pures who, like Partridge, live in the protective Dome, much like the bell jar on the cover. But it can also represent a more personal purity--like that of Pressia and some of the wretches who struggle to live with their dignity and humanity intact. In the second book in the trilogy, the blue butterfly takes on a more literal meaning as well. Also, check out the back cover of the book. There you'll find a mechanical butterfly created by the artist Mike Libby, well known in steampunk circles. The mechanical butterfly exists in Pure as one of Pressia's creations.

Justin Cronin: What can you tell us about what's coming next for Pressia, Bradwell, and Partridge in the next installment, Fuse?

Julianna Baggott: I broaden the ravaged landscape. Some of the characters travel great distances. There are new creatures to contend with, as well as plot twists and turns within the Dome. (I absolutely love the new characters that we meet within the Dome--as well as the development of characters that readers only met briefly in Pure.)  In addition to a new mystery to be unraveled and power struggles, there are two love stories in Fuse that really take hold, go deep, and become much more complex.


"What lifts PURE from the glut of blood-spattered young adult fiction is not the story Baggott tells but the exquisite precision of her prose...discomfiting and unforgettable."―The New York Times Sunday Book Review

"Baggott's highly anticipated postapocalyptic horror a fascinating mix of stark, oppressive authoritarianism and grotesque anarchy...Baggott mixes brutality, occasional wry humor, and strong dialogue into an exemplar of the subgenre."―Publisher's Weekly (STARRED review)

"A great gorgeous whirlwind of a novel, boundless in its imagination. You will be swept away."―Justin Cronin, New York Times bestselling author of The Passage

"A boiling and roiling glorious mosh-pit of a book, full of wonderful weirdness, tenderness, and wild suspense. If Katniss could jump out of her own book and pick a great friend, I think she'd find an excellent candidate in Pressia."―Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

"PURE is a dark adventure that is both startling and addictive at once. Pressia Belze is one part manga heroine and one part post-apocalyptic Alice...Breathtaking and frightening. I couldn't stop reading PURE."―Danielle Trussoni, bestselling author of Angelology

"PURE is not just the most extraordinary coming-of-age novel I've ever read, it is also a beautiful and savage metaphorical assessment of how all of us live in this present age. This is an important book."―Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

It's nearly impossible to stop reading as Baggott delves fearlessly into a grotesque and fascinating future populated by strangely endearing victims (and perpetrators) of a wholly unique apocalypse. And trust me, PURE packs one hell of an apocalypse."―Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse

Product Details

  • File Size: 1221 KB
  • Print Length: 469 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 8, 2012)
  • Publication Date: February 8, 2012
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,853 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author, Julianna Baggott -- who also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher (The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted) and N.E. Bode (The Anybodies) -- has published more than 20 books, including novels for adults, younger readers, and collections of poetry. Her latest novel, HARRIET WOLF'S SEVENTH BOOK OF WONDERS, was published in August 2015. Her novel, PURE, was the first of a trilogy; and was a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, and received the ALA's Alex Award. For more, go to:

Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Best American Poetry, Best Creative Nonfiction, Real Simple, on, as well as read on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and "Here and Now." Her novels have been book-pick selections by People Magazine's summer reading, Washington Post book-of-the-week, a Booksense selection, a Boston Herald Book Club selection, and a Kirkus Best Books of the Year list. Her novels have been published in over 50 overseas editions. She's a professor in the College of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University and hold the Jenks Chair at The College of the Holy Cross.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This one's going to stay with me for a very long time. I already know this because the images from Pure by Julianna Baggott are seared into my mind--wildly disturbing, absorbing, imaginative, freakish. This is a dystopian unlike most others out there, and I'm hooked.

Pure is the story of almost sixteen year old Pressia, who has lived for the nine years since the world ending/changing Detonations with her grandfather in a small barbershop in what's left of America. Those who survived the Detonations were fused to whatever they happened to be touching at the moment the bright light exploded, so Pressia's right hand is now the head of the baby doll she was holding and her grandfather has a small fan stuck in his throat. The two have been foraging for their lives, knowing that when Pressia turns sixteen, the dreaded OSR soldiers will be coming for her (for whatever purpose they deem). It is this knowledge that leads Pressia to Bradwell, a fellow survivor with birds actually living in his back, and ultimately to El Capitan, an OSR officer whose younger brother has fused to him. Meanwhile, there are a select few who have survived unscathed--Pure--in the Dome; Partridge, son of one of the leaders, feels certain his mother survived the Detonations outside the Dome and he becomes determined to find her, even if it means leaving his sanctuary. All of these lives intersect, combine, and impact one another throughout the most vivid landscape and people I've read about in quite a while.

Pure is not without its faults; its present tense writing annoys and the improbability of people fusing to items as varied as animals, metal, plastic, and land kept nagging me. Still, if you put aside the illogic, this is a story whose characters are truly the stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Audrey Larson on June 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Pure, by Julianna Baggott, tells the story of two teens and a shattered world. Pressia survives in the ruins of the nuclear bombing; among burned, fused and mutated beings. Partridge is a Pure, living in the controlled and monitored environment inside the protective dome, along with the others that were lucky enough to be shielded from the bombs. Partridge is convinced his mother is alive somewhere in the ashes outside the dome, and he escapes knowing he may never come back. Pressia is hiding; she now has reached the age where the militia, or OSR, must capture her to either be trained or die.

Pure is well written, with lots of attention to detail. The book starts out a bit slow in the beginning but soon grabs your attention and quickens the pace. Flashbacks of everyday moments such as birthdays, barbeques and movie theaters from the "before" (before the bombing) gave me a new perspective on everyday life taken for granted. Pure gave me an appreciation of what I have and the world I live in. I was a little confused as to the location of where Pure is supposed to take place. I don't know if this was a conscious decision by the author, but I was just wondering what was supposed to be happening in other places in the world. Pure is not as action-packed as I would have liked; it has more inner and emotional struggle. Pure has a quiet air to it, like the silent desolate world it takes place in. I thought the characters were well developed and lifelike. Overall, I thought Pure was fresh, unpredictable and compelling. Pure is a book that made me think.

I would recommend this book to boys and girls ages 12 and up. Pure is the first book in a planned trilogy and I look forward to reading the next one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christina (Ensconced in Lit) on July 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I have a good blogger friend who highly recommended this book to me, and thus, it's been on my to read list for quite some time.

Pure by Julianna Baggott follows several characters, but the main trio is composed of Pressia, Bradwell, and Partridge in their journey in a post-apocalyptic YA tale. The setup is pretty horrific-- we have humans that have been fused to other humans, animals, plants, and inanimate objects. In fact, Pressia has a fused doll's head instead of a hand. Each of these protagonists come from different backgrounds, but band together to figure out the truth behind their world and themselves.

I can see why my friend liked it. The author has great creativity. I cringed at a lot of the descriptions. The characters overall were likeable and compelling, my favorite being the very complex and twisted character of El Capitan. There are moments of beauty in the prose and each chapter feels very complete.

That said, there are a few reasons I decided to give it three stars. First, is my issue with the science. If this was a grotesque fantasy world with no real world reason to back it up, fine. But I can't wrap around an atomic bomb causing everyone to fuse to something else but either completely losing their humanity or staying separate entities, just fused together (for example, a mother fused to the baby, both were alive, separate entities like Siamese twins). I tried to suspend my belief, but I struggled through most of the book because of this. Second, the book dragged a lot. Even though this is a horrific world, and our characters get attacked pretty frequently, the actual plot can be honed down to a few paragraphs. And the plot-- it's unfortunate, but this story is Star Wars in a dystopian YA.
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