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Purity Hardcover – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Many teens will find Shelby's emotional journey worth following...a satisfying read."―VOYA

"Shelby's biting, irreverent first-person narration finely blends the humor and pain of her situation...A purely satisfying look at mourning and sexuality -- and even their connection."―Kirkus Reviews

"A startlingly authentic picture of a girl in transition on multiple levels...teens will appreciate this thoughtful look at the implications -- or lack thereof -- of doing the deed."―The Bulletin

"Smart and thought provoking."―Booklist

"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

"Reading Jackson Pearce's Purity feels like talking on the phone with a lively and honest best friend -- who is telling it like it is. Shelby reminds us all to be first and foremost true to ourselves. This book is a must-read for anyone thinking about making promises to themselves or others."―Amy Deneson, author and New York Times essayist

About the Author

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


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031618246X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316182461
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,634,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jackson Pearce lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She auditioned for the circus once, but didn't make it; other jobs she's had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist.

Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn't tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since. Visit Jackson online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By WTF Are You Reading? on April 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My Thoughts
This is a book that, while it does deliver on its promise of contemporary YA goodness, also leaves the reader with some pretty savory food for thought.
Purity is the story of a father and daughter set adrift on a sea of loss, miscommunication, and misunderstanding of themselves and each other, after the loss of the wife and mother that anchored them.

Let me be the first to say that though this book spends a great deal of its time on the topic of Shelby's "deflowering", and her aversion to the "purity ball"; I am fully confident that it was not the author's intention to glorify teen sex or disparage the message of the abstinence movement in any way. These happenings within this read have more to do with being points of "discovery" for Shelby; about her power to plot her own course to happiness and love rather than having those things dictated to her by the predefined parameters of a promise or expectation.

Thank you Jackson for writing a story full of truly "good guys". It is so nice to see an exception to the "one prince per story rule." The princes in this book: Shelby's dad, Jeffrey, and Jonas. This book really explores the male/female relationship in three of its most important aspects. The relationship that girls have with the men in their lives as: fathers (Shelby's dad), sexual partners (Jeffery), and friends/love interests (Jonas). What this book does in true "girl power" fashion, is to show young women that they have the power to actively choose their role in these relationships and not simply let the male take the lead.

As the mother of three daughters, I will be the first to make this book required reading in my home.
It is my hope that this book will serve as a bridge between parents and the teens that we are trying so hard to love, guide, and UNDERSTAND.
*This review is a cross-post from my blog*
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I rarely do reviews, but I had to write one for this book. I am a fan of Jackson Pearce and have read all her work. Purity has become my favorite out of all four of her books - I am a huge contemporary novel fan more than supernatural, which could the reason why it's my favorite. It's witty. It's charming. But most importantly it's real. I found myself relating to the main character, Shelby, in so many ways and the pressure she placed on her self to lose her virginity. It's very tasteful, and there is nothing in there that anyone under the age of 15 shouldn't be allowed to read.

The book isn't that big, and I was able to finish the book within a day. I love the relationship between Shelby and her friends, but I especially love the relationship, or lack of, between her and her father. Throughout the novel it's painful to see how they lack a relationship and what the purity ball ends up meaning for the both of them at the end. It's a story of growth, love, understanding, and most importantly to me, it's a story of searching who you really are.

I highly recommend the book. And I know some people may be turned off because of the mention of God or Shelby's view of religion, but she is a character in a book and characters have different views just like real people do. And that is why I love this book. Pearce has the ability to create strong characters with flaws that resemble real people. They're not perfect, their not flat, but intricate with several elements contributing to their existence... even if they are fictional.

And if anything else, you should just get the book for how beautiful the cover is!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on May 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
For Shelby, the most important thing in her life is keeping the promises she made her mother before she died: listen to her father, live without restraint, and love as much as possible. The loving is something she's working on, and she's got the living without restraint part covered. But the most important one, listening to her father, is tough. And it only gets harder when her dad volunteers to organize the church's Princess Ball. At the ball, daughters attend with their fathers and pledge to stay pure in all aspects of their lives...and Shelby isn't sure if she can make that pledge. So instead she plans to nullify it by formulating a plan to lose her virginity before the ball--which is just about a month away.

Jackson Pearce's Purity will hook many readers with its straightforward, entertaining, and slightly sarcastic voice. Shelby is an engaging and likable narrator. She's had a hard time dealing with her mother's death, and she doesn't know how to interact with her father beyond keeping her promise to listen to him. But she's never had to confront these issues until her father's involvement with the Princess Ball force her to really think about her values and what she wants out of life. Shelby's questions with religion are brought up, but her search for answers doesn't have much depth and brings about only a few small steps. Instead she focuses her attention on her plan to lose her virginity with the support of her eccentric friend Ruby and the reluctant help of her long-time friend Jonas. She doesn't really make any major breakthroughs until she finally confronts her father and is able to be truthful with him. Their relationship is far from ideal by the time the book ends, but there is hope that they can build a better relationship.
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