Author: Julianna Baggott
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Age Group: YA
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Page Count: 448
Source: ARC from Julianna Baggott and Grand Central Publishing And Preordered Final Copy!
"We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again."
The Cover: I really like the cover and think it is perfection in its' simplicity. However, this book has so, so, so many unique and odd images and characters in it, that I wish they would have been a little more daring with the cover and made it more crazy, tastefully crazy, but still crazy. 4 out 5 Hearts!
Teaser: "Moving in the shadows of trees on the other side of the field, she sees quick bodies. Nothing like the limping figure that was hiding behind the trees, these are large, fleet, and shifting in a pattern. She sees two and then a third. They emerge from the woods, and she can see that they are men, young with broad faces. They wear tight-fitting dark ashen camouflage suits that leave their arms bare. Their sleek hairless skin, so pristine, seems to glow. Their arms are rippled with muscle but also guns, thick black metal, attached, if not built in. They tilt their heads as if hearing things from far off and sniff the air. Their bodies are muscular. Two have barrel chest. The other has enormous thighs. They all have short hair. When they aren't moving with great speed with their breath steaming behind them in the chilled air, they lope almost elegantly. They have oversize hands - no, claws - but are still human. Normally, Pressia would be terrified, but because of the creatures' odd elegance and El Capitans' rapt fearlessness, she isn't." Pg 205
My Thoughts . . .
Pure by author Julianna Baggott was a story that pushes the boundary on what beauty means, in every way possible. It was a truly amazing, intriguing and captivating story that is precious and rare. In many books the protag or any character for that matter, is described as beautiful and stunning or also, often, plain and simple, but not ugly....oh, never ugly! But Julianna was not afraid to make ugly characters, to make characters who are so uncomfortable and frankly, are very ugly; characters with eyes on the sides of their heads like horse, characters mixed with animals, characters combined with four other people and characters with working fans jutting out of their throats, twirling with every breath.
This amazing style of character construction reminded of those 80's and 90's films back when all of oogly, boogly creatures were machine and rubber and they were so grotesque, but everyone loved them any ways because of their awesome freakishness. That's how the characters are, maybe not that extreme, but still in the same ballpark.
The writing style was utterly different then most books/YA books these days. It was the strangest blend of third, constantly infused with a stream of consciousness that just sucks you in and entices you to never stop reading as the character thinks about the past, the future, the present and of all the things they understand and don't understand. Julianna is amazing writer and I loved every page.
I'm gonna be honest, I wasn't so sure that I would like the book when I first started because I WAS so use to first person narration and when I saw that the book was third person infused with stream of consciousness I was very put off. Very. I just didn't like it. I didn't get it. I wasn't use to it. Five pages in, I could not stop reading!!! I was entranced and captivated by this world, by Pressia and Bradwell, by Patridge and Lyda and El Captain and by this beautiful, lyrical and artistic form of writing that I had to savor. And that's how it is with good books. With amazing books - you savor or consume. Since I received an ARC of Pure, that meant that the book had not even been released, which also meant that it's sequel, FUSE, was nowhere near publication so though I wanted to consume every page, I had to hold back and just savor. Savor the world, the writing and the characters.
A Little More Details on Characters???:
Pressia - I adored Pressia, I truly did. To me, she was the main protag and I loved everything about her, but that does not mean she wasn't flawed, both physically and socially, because she was. But that's why I liked her. She knew her flaws, she reprimanded herself for her not-so good thoughts and she forced herself to be a better person. She was strong character, that stumbles and falls, but refuses to give up. She is an extremely unique female protag in the YA books genre, for her story is not about loving a boy, but rather about loving herself and finding a better world, in the literal wastelands that surround her.
Patridge - At first I didn't care for Patridge, for the quite possible same reason that Bradwell didn't; he was a Pure. A Pure that didn't like the easy life he had. But then I got to learn about him, I got to learn about his history and feelings and his desires, I realized that he too, was a 3-D, flawed and powerful character that I enjoyed reading about.
Lyda - I like Lyda from the beginning, because even though she was Pure, she was strong. She knew her stance in life, but she also stood up for herself and was a fighter. Even when things got terrible, she was strong. Maybe a little mean, though that's understandable, but still, she was strong and I admired her strength, even though again, she was a Pure, and really never had to fight for anything. But in the end, she does fight. And she was another great female protag.
Bradwell - Bradwell was a character that I liked one moment and didn't like the next. He was stubborn and thought he was right about everything, but at the same time he was the most knowledgeable character and therefore, his smartassness and his stubbornness did make sense. I like that he was strong and again, flawed, like all the other characters. His deformity was physically unique and held a lot metaphorical meaning that I really enjoyed.
El Captian - El Capitan was the character that I felt struggled the most. He did horrible things and hated himself for it, but he knew he had to survive for him and even for his brother, though at times he wished he was without him. El was complex and haunted and wanted everything a Pure had while still hating them for everything they had and were. He was a tortured person who just wanted . . .he wanted everything, while wanting nothing and his emotions were just raw.
One thing I feel I need to mention is the religious undertone of the book. Don't freak! If you are not a religious person or don't like being preached at that, this book DOES NOT do that at all. It's not about our modern religion, but it is about what it means to have real faith. To believe in God and whether or not God and having faith in God and a better life is the same thing as believing in religion, in following what man tells you God wants you to do.
Are those who claim to know what God wants, right? Or is faith something else entirely? Is it the act of blind faith and doing what you are told? Or is it love? Something simple, but more powerful then anything else?
Having faith in yourself and those around you, are much more important then having faith in what you are told to believe in. Don't be the sheep nor the shepherd. Just simply, be.
So in the end Pure, by the wonderful Julianna Baggott is a book that will consume you, but that you should savor. It's truly a story about discovery and hope and the act of finding out what it means to be beautiful - in every way possible.
Question: Should you read?
Answer: Without A Doubt!!
Pure is 5 and half Hearts out of 5!!