Straight up, Pure by Julianna Baggott is a bleak book. Expect grime. Expect grit. Expect to be grossed out by what you read. Don’t come into Pure expecting girls on fire in pretty dresses, because you won’t find that in Baggott’s post-apocalyptic world. I wanted to put Pure down at several points because it felt too dark to continue – but Asheley encouraged me to continue with it. I’m glad for her encouragement because Pure is a book worth reading if you go in with the right attitude. Expect less of the Hunger Games style and more Cormac McCarthy a la The Road. Pure reads as more of an adult book than it does a YA. It never shies away from the grotesque.
Pressia Belze, 16, is fighting to survive. Ever day she can hide from the OSR (Operation Sacred Revolution) and barter food for her and her grandfather is considered a success. The world Pressia lives in is not beautiful. Detonations hit the world and people have merged with each other, animals and objects. Pure is literally terrifying. Everyone has mutated except those who were in the Dome. These people are Pures and are intact and have no contact with the wretches – until Partridge Willux escapes to the outside.
Pure by Julianna Baggott is a harrowing nail biter told in present tense. The jury is out on how I feel about present tense, but I thought in the case of Pure it certainly added to the on-edge feeling I had while reading. I had no idea what was going to happen and honestly, felt as though I was taken for a long, strange ride. I mean this in the best kind of way.
Pure by Julianna Baggott will appeal to a certain kind of reader – if you were patient enough for The Passage, could handle The Road’s bleakness and have a strong stomach, Pure is the book for you. If you want dystopia-post-apocalyptic lite, search elsewhere.
Disclosure: Review copy received via Netgalley.