Author: Jackson Pearce
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown
Cover Judge: It's cute! And simple. I like cute and simple.Quote Choice: This scene. I loved this scene.
Source: For Review
A novel about love, loss, and sex -- but not necessarily in that order.
Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.
Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.
So I've mentioned before that Jackson Pearce's book are usually a hit or miss for me and sadly, this time, it was...sort of both? Maybe? I think more of a miss but let's get my thoughts together.
The book surrounds a girl named Shelby who made three promises to her mother before she died: to love and listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restiant. I imagine that because she was a child when she made these promises and unaware at the moment of making them that it was going to be the last time she saw her mother, she was traumatized into following them...extremely. So when her father decides they should attend the Purity ball which includes vowing to her father to remain a virgin until marriage, she decides the only loophole is to lose her virginity before the ball. I think this whole plot line was my major problem with the story: I just seemed crazy for me for Shelby to take the promises to the extreme she does. She follows her father's rules so exactly that she doesn't try to reason with him or talk to him. Instead, she just skirts around the issue and goes whatever he says, even if she doesn't want to. I don't think her mother meant to do that and even though Shelby realizes this, I wanted to shake her and just be like: DUH!
But at the same time, I've never experienced something as awful as what happened to Shelby so I don't know how I would react in that position. Shelby was a good character overall: funny and sweet and incredibly loyal, even at a fault. The side characters Ruby and Jonas were my favorite parts about the book and it was lovely seeing them. Ruby was sassy and charming while Jonas was just so adorable with his list-making and loyalty to Shelby. Also, Pearce knows how to write delightfully awkward and funny scenes. Her writing style is simple and easy to follow while still managing an authentic teenage voice.
The romance isn't the focal point of the novel as it is with most of Pearce's work. It wasn't about Shelby realizing who she wanted in the first place but about Shelby learning that she has to talk to her father and honor her mother's memory the right way instead of doing crazy things. On the other hand, I loved her bucket list. In the end, I ended up skimming the end and just reading the final chapter because I didn't feel like reading the big revelation where she realizes her mom didn't mean what she thought she had meant because I was just like: DUDE, of course she didn't.
Overall, a book that people will enjoy but the plot just didn't work for me.
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