Book Review: Pure (Pure #1) by Julianna Baggott

Posted July 6, 2012 by Melissa in Book Review | 9 Comments


Title: Pure

Author:  Julianna Baggott
Reading level: Adult/Young Adult
Genre:  Post Apocalyptic
Size: 448 pages
Release Date: February 8th 2012
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group
Stand Alone/Series:  Pure #1
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

First Line: “There was low droning overhead a week or so after the Detonations; time was hard to track.”

Summary (from GoodReads):


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.

My Thoughts:

This was without a doubt the most disturbing book that I have read thus far in 2012. Maybe that’s why it took me months to actually sit down and write this review.  I just didn’t (and still don’t) know how to put all of my thoughts and feelings about this one into words.



I’ll start off by saying that I almost DNFed this one and that would have been a horrible mistake.  After reading the first few chapters, I was not only deeply disturbed but also completely unable to reconcile this book with any version of “reality” that my imagination could conjure.  The fusions, the groupies, the dusts…it was all just so completely unbelievable that I almost gave up on the book entirely.
After giving it a bit more time though, and convincing myself to suspend disbelief, I was able to fully appreciate the amazing creativity, character development and world building that Baggott has to offer.  The characters including Pressia, Partridge, El Capitan, and Helmud are complex and compelling.  The world is dark and frightening and more horrid than your worst nightmare could ever be.
This really is one that needs to be read rather than described.  Pure is 100% original and 100% terrifying.  Baggott shows us a stark picture of what humanity is really capable of inflicting on each other and the lengths that some will go to ensure their own “standards.”  Thankfully, she balances that by also showing us the strength, conviction and hope that humans also possess and which may truly be our only salvation in a possible tomorrow that could be only one small step away from the post-apocalyptic literature of today.

Was it worth my Time?


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9 responses to “Book Review: Pure (Pure #1) by Julianna Baggott

  1. I started this one and like you was kind of disturbed. I decided to set it aside but after reading this review I think I’m ready to start it again.

  2. I have been just a bit too terrified to pick this one up. I think your review kind of confirms what I’ve been thinking it is. An amazing story but very disturbing and weird. The kind of book that really makes you think. The kind of book that totally stresses me out! I’m drawn to it, but I think it takes a certain mood to read this one. I’m glad you really enjoyed it though!

  3. Amazing review Melissa – very well-written and thought-provoking! I may have to set out and read this book. I had the same feelings as you when reading The Road by Carmack McCarthy, I don’t think I’ve ever been so disturbed by a book before. But I truly believe that it should be compulsory literature for everyone. Definitely one to add to my list for sure!

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

  4. Glad that you did finish it as it seems in the end it was worth it. Your review had me thinking about a lot and I honestly love a book that disturbs me just a bit and makes me think….might be worth picking up at some point.

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