Monday, January 16, 2012

Joint Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

by:  Julianna Baggott
published by:  Grand Central Publishing
publish date:  Feb 8, 2012

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.

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.

I'm assuming this book is going to be something of a hybrid.  It's not really adult, but it's not really YA either.  It's got the YA characters and the YA marketing thing going (Trilogy don't you know it!), but it's got a grownup publisher.  I've read a lot of YA dystopian and it's all dark and usually dismal, but there tends to be a line (don't ask me what it is, I'd only know it if I saw it) that keeps it on a YA level, but this book just trashed that line and took dark and disturbing to a whole new place.  The fused people are nightmarish.  The idea that the movie rights for this book have already been optioned (by the Twilight people no less) freaks me out, because then I might actually have a visual to go with the descriptions.

This will be a love it or hate it book.  I think I lean more towards the hate it side, but I have to say I respect it.  It's been a long time since I've been so perturbed by a book.  I wanted to be able to talk to other people about it and see what they thought.  The publishers are touting it as the next Hunger Games.  I doubt it, because of how off-putting some of the depictions are, but if it is, I can't wait to hear everyone else's thoughts about this book.

I have mulled over how I felt about this book for a few days.  I have decided that I liked the story line and the characters.  The mystery of the detonations is intriguing and I want to know more about what happened to cause them.  The characters are compelling and well written.  

What I didn't like was the effects of the detonations on the people outside the dome.  As Autumn said, the book goes to some dark and very disturbing places.  I'm not sure if I could watch this movie if it comes out.  Just thinking about seeing the "mothers" alone grosses me out. I'm giving this 3 stars on Goodreads because I have a love/hate relationship with it. I don't think this is a YA novel, at least not young YA.  I think that readers will have to judge for themselves.  I, for one, sit on the fence.  I will probably continue with the series since I want to know what happens next. 

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