Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Pure (Pure #1)Julianna Baggott- Pure

Format- Paperback

Publisher- Hachette

Source- Review copy

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Pure is a rather bleak YA dystopian novel. There are two living communities- the wretches who are disfigured as the result of the detonation and the pure who live inside a controlled society called the dome.

Pressia is a wretch; she has a doll head fused to her wrist in place of a hand from the detonation. She is nearing the day of her sixteenth birthday when the OSR, the army will take her away and she will likely disappear. With only her grandfather to protect her, she escapes on her sixteenth birthday and stumbles across Partridge, a pure who has escaped the dome and is in search of his mother who he believes is alive.

She saves his life and takes him to see Bradwell, an eighteen year old who is known as ‘the dead’ as he is yet to be captured by the OSR and he runs an underground group of escapees. Bradwell has a soft spot for Pressia and when she is captured trying to help Partridge, he enlists the pure to help him find her. In the meantime they begin to uncover the truth about Partridge’s mother, his family and the connection with Pressia. Pressia has an endearing innocent quality to her and sees the light in the darkness; she is optimistic and ignites hope in the pessimistic Bradwell.

There are minor characters such asEl Capitanand Lyda and the author shares their perspective intermittently, I suspect they will play a larger role in the sequel. It started out slow but the world-building is essential to the story.

Baggott has created a vivid setting and as a reader I could easily envision the ash sky, the hazy air and the disfigured characters in this unique world. It is a stark contrast to the ‘pure’ realm with inhabitants who have clear air, clear skin and clear paths to follow in life. I believe Pure is being made into a movie and I am really intrigued to see how this would play out.

4/5 rating

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