Pure by Julianna BaggottRelease Date: February 8th, 2012
December was another busy month, and with the holidays and travels galore, I only had time to squeeze in one book, but luckily, it was a delightful one. In perhaps my first perk of blogging (if you don't count a 96 cent Amazon gift card), I received a signed advanced copy of the book, which will officially be released February 8th. There is a lot of hype about Pure, which is the first in a trilogy (Fox has already purchased the film rights and producer Karen Rosenfelt, of the Twilight movies, has already signed on). It is technically classified (if you care about such things) as a young adult dystopia novel (think Hunger Games trilogy, which I reviewed in September and October), but I think Pure will exceed expectations and please adult readers too.
Even though dystopias are a favorite genre of mine, I was skeptical when I heard the premise of Pure. There has been a kind of nuclear disaster, some people escaped to a protected dome while some are living in the aftermath of the apocalyptic event. The premise didn't sound very original, but Baggott made the idea all of her own, and I was blown away with the results.
The characters in Pure are so authentic that I couldn't help caring about them. The main characters are Pressia, a physically deformed but courageous and kind young woman, and Partridge, a naive and privileged, if neglected, young man. Their paths collide unexpectedly, and as the story of Pure unfolds, it becomes less of a dystopia and more what Margaret Atwood calls "speculative fiction." As the story goes on, it gives glimpses into the complexities of what causes disaster and how humanity survives in its aftermath.
License must be granted to the author, and readers have to be willing to suspend disbelief as they learn the rules of this new world, but once you go there, the pay off is so worth it. Literally, every aspect of the plot pays off, and the world of Pure becomes so visual, I can only imagine that the film will need a very big budget if it is to capture the imaginative spirit of the novel. The writing itself is fantastic; though it is a young adult novel, it doesn't read that way. The chapters may be short and approachable, but the line by line writing is satisfying to the adult reader's ear that is looking for something that resonates long after the book is put on the nightstand. (In fact, I enjoyed Pure more than Baggott's books for adults published under the Bridget Asher pen name).
My biggest take away from Pure is what a deep emotional response I had to it. The book explores themes of what it means to be physical flawed, broken, or ugly; what defines family and to whom should one be loyal to? Can women and men truly achieve equality despite the challenges that multiple societies face? Most importantly, what makes us, as human beings, capable of making grave mistakes, and what do we do to pick up the pieces? Sometimes, frankly, this book gave me chills, because as far as the end of the world and what it would look like goes, Pure seems feasible.
If Pure receives the attention it deserves, it will be just as big a deal as Hunger Games. My recommendation is to pre-order this book. Click the picture to pre-order from Amazon (if you cannot see the picture, try using a browser other than Chrome to view this blog). Happy reading!
And Happy New Year!
<3 S, B, L&Z
Enjoyed this post? Check out Books I read in August, September, October, and November too!