|Not so pure and simple
Author: Giles, Lamar
High school junior Del Rainey unwittingly joins a Purity Pledge class at church, hoping to get closer to his long-term crush, Kiera.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 508904
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2019 Gr 8 Up—Del Rainey attends church with his mother just to get close to his crush, Kiera Westing. When Kiera and other teens approach the altar during a service, he jumps up to join the youth group so he can spend more time with Kiera. Del realizes he just became a Purity Pledger, committed to staying "sexually pure" until marriage. Jameer, another Purity Pledger, promises to help Del connect with Kiera in exchange for the one thing Pledgers don't have—access to accurate information about sexual health. Del is the only one taking Healthy Living at school; the pastor won't allow his young parishioners to enroll. This happens right after a spate of teen pregnancies in town. Local media called it a pregnancy pact, though it was actually the result of multiple snow days and boredom. One of the girls tires of being labeled a "Baby-Getter" and calls out her child's father on social media, demanding accountability for the fathers and less focus on the mothers. Without being didactic, this story explores expectations around gender roles and calls out toxic behaviors that even "good guys" are guilty of. The impact of social media, religion, and adults' handling of these issues is also examined. The narrative successfully integrates all of these elements into a compelling story of young people sorting through conflicting messages and social pressures around sexuality and relationships. The characters and their reactions to various situations are realistically complicated, creating a believable, relatable story. VERDICT A powerful first purchase for any library serving teens.—Carla Riemer, Albany High School, CA - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2020 *Starred Review* Del Rainey and his best friend, Qwan, are known for their sexual conquests and wild times with girls in town. Even so, he’s always had his eye set on Kiera Westing—the hottest and most unavailable girl at school. So when Del sees an opportunity to spend time with Kiera, he doesn’t care that that time will be spent taking purity pledge classes at church. Even though he had no intention of being pure, Del finds himself challenged and stretched to check his own behavior toward girls as he spends more time with the Purity Pledgers. What he thought would be a surefire way into Kiera’s heart becomes an experience that reveals just how toxic his own behavior toward women is. Readers will find themselves rooting for Del because he’s such a likeable character, but a shocking event will illuminate just how poor his decisions have been to date. This title grapples with the many ways that toxic masculinity drives the actions of people, from the pastor’s love of public shaming to Del’s inability to accept no as an answer from girls. With a fresh perspective, Giles takes care to flesh out his full cast of characters, creating an intricate, multifaceted web of misogyny and its detrimental impact. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.