Friday, November 2, 2012

Vouched Book! "Pure" by Julianna Baggot

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.

Find it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indie Bound | Hachette
Find Julianna Baggott on: Her Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Amazing and excruciatingly beautiful, Pure is one of those books that'll stay with me for a long time. Although it took me a while to get into the story because there are moments and info that seemingly had no point, I couldn't flounce the book. Julianna Baggott wrote with such wonderful detail and description, saturating me in the dark world and the characters she created, that I had to know where everything led and where the characters ended up—that there was a reason for all that transpired and all I had read.

And there is. It just takes a while to get there. The information slowly trickles in, expanding and unraveling bits and pieces until the very end.

Pure is gripping and quietly intense. It's not the average action-packed, YA Dystopia. But it is memorable. It's horrifying and endearing, unreal yet consistently realistic. It's like an accident or something ugly that you can't stop staring at in disbelief, and it gives you a moment of humbling pause. "Beautiful barbarism"—it's a phrase used a couple times in the book and exactly how I'd describe what the story entails.

An event, known as "the Detonations," creates deformities in those exposed to the blast. People are physically convoluted, a mixture of human, animal, earth, objects—anything the person was touching or were hit by at the time of the "sun on sun on sun." Kind of gross, right?

Yet, there are instances where it was heartbreakingly beautiful: A mother's chest melded to her child because she was shielding the infant; a doll fused to the hand of a girl because it was from her mother; a younger brother attached to the older because they were trying to escape together.

Then there are the Pures, those inside the Dome, protected and without blemish—outwardly perfect but inwardly dogmatic, happily naive, or simply trapped by circumstance. They "benevolently" watch those outside the Dome until they're ready to join their "brothers and sisters."

But when a Pure—the son of high-ranking Dome official, no less—ventures out to search for someone he loves, both worlds collide, revealing (some of) the past and secrets while setting revolutionary events into motion. I say "some of the past" because not everything is answered; for some readers, Pure might not have a satisfying ending, no instant gratification, but this is a series, and the last quarter of the book, in my opinion, was the best. There were a couple twists that, although I saw coming, still knocked the wind out of me.

I'd recommend this book to Dystopia readers who enjoy the journey rather than the end result and expect innate human ugliness (that can also be taken as merciful) with perfectly imperfect characters. I love this book, but I can see how it's not for everyone, and the only reason I didn't give it five stars is because I compared it to all the Science Fiction series I've read this year. Maybe when the Pure series ends, I'll change my mind. (And let's hope it's for the better.)

LUV'NV Rating: Rating as 11/01/2012: 4.1 out of 5 stars

— Teasers —
"Oysters on the half shell. They're an acquired taste."

An acquired taste? Pressia isn't sure what the term means, but she loves it. A taste is something that you can acquire? She'd love to simply be fed anything regularly enough to acquire a taste. She would love to acquire one taste and then another and another until she has a full collection of tastes.

In a different world, could he be a better person? Maybe they all could be. Maybe, in the end, that's the greatest gift the Dome can offer: When you live in a place with enough safety and comfort, you can pretend you'd always make the best decision, even in the face of desperation.


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