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'Pure' by Julianna Baggott

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The Detonations’ destruction resulted in the division of the human race. Some were lucky enough to escape the apocalypse, sheltering together in a protective sanctuary called the Dome. They are unmarked, pure. Most, however, were left to suffer devastating consequences, left to survive amongst the rubble that was once their home. They are burnt, damaged, and mutated. Pressia Belze, a teenaged girl living in the ruins of an old barber shop, is expected turn herself over to the militia and become a soldier. Partridge Willux, a teenaged boy living in the Dome, is expected to follow in the footsteps of his powerful, controlling father. When the two rebel against their predestined future and meet, their worlds shatter all over again.
Julianna Baggott’s Pure is a novel that brings dystopian fiction back from the brink of being swallowed up by its own banality. Pressia, the protagonist, feels like a real, driven, in-depth person rather than the two-dimensional typecast that we see so often in young adult fiction. In fact, all of the characters are unique, engaging, and unpredictable. The plot is gritty with its fast pace, unexpected twists, and dark undertones. But perhaps the most commendable aspect of Pure is its detail. Several times in the book Pressia hears the sinister lullabies and poems of her fellow survivors, all of which were written by the author to enhance the sense of helplessness in the book’s unforgiving environment. Baggott also weaves ideas of genetic coding into the regime of the Dome to make it seem less like a haven and more like a prison. Details like this make the book’s escapism intensely addictive.
Because Pure is written in such an alternative way, some people might not enjoy it. The book deals with multiple changing points of view, which, while I found to be well-executed and fresh, many might find the constant change in characters to be irritating or confusing. Because all of the characters in the book are so contrasted, there is also a possibility that the reader does not connect with them all and thus is inclined to skip the parts that narrate that character. If you are not a fan of several points of view, I suggest that you do not read Pure, as you risk skipping information that is crucial to the plotline. Furthermore, the novels violence and mature themes mean that the novel is unsuitable to readers younger than thirteen years old.
Ultimately, Pure is a refreshing addition to the young adult fiction shelf. The vividness of Baggott’s prose along with her unique cast of characters ensures that Pure will stay with readers for a long time, and a huge number of fans are waiting for the next in the trilogy, Fuse, to be released to the stores. I’m hanging out for it too.
Written by Flynn Walker




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