Tabitha and her group of friends all wear purity rings that symbolize their pledge to remain virgins until they are married. When one of the girls, Cara, admits to having sex with her boyfriend, loyalties are tested and Tabitha must reexamine her friendships.
So, I really like that the subject of purity rings (and faith in general) is dealt with earnestly and in a balanced way that I can see resonating with many teens. It’s something that has the potential to generate a healthy discussion about values, being true to yourself, and respecting your body. But as provocative as it is sometimes (such as a scene where Tabitha discovers that Jesus never specifically forbids premarital sex - or how about that cover?), it can also be pretty bland.
Maybe part of my indifference to the “drama” of the plot is due to the fact that I’m married and the days of purity rings are far behind me. Had I read it at 17 it would have been more relevant. Church youth group was a big part of my high school social life, so the ”True Love Waits” campaign is nothing new to me. In fact, one year, everyone was "strongly encouraged" to fill out purity pledges and lay them at the altar during the church service. We all did. Not necessarily because everyone really meant it. It was just that no one dared to disappoint parents and be branded a whore by judgmental old ladies.
It was this kind of “positive” peer pressure that permeated PURE. The five friends all have different motivations for wearing the rings. Morgan seems to be the most convicted that it is God’s will for her life, but she also enjoys the attention it brings her. Naeomi states at one point that she wears it mainly as a promise to herself, not so much for God’s sake. Tabitha got one because Morgan got one. And they all found it easy to pledge chastity before boys were in the picture.
Since the book is written in first person from Tabitha’s POV, we see just how conflicted she is about the Cara/sex situation. While the other girls are quick to judge and dump Cara, Tabitha wants to be a true friend. It’s noble, and even believable. But while reading, Tabitha’s perfection started to irk me a bit. She’s sensible and kind through it all, and even her small slip-ups are quickly forgiven because she deals with them so well. I would have expected a book about “betrayals, confessions and revenge” to be a bit … messier.
PURE will be released in hardcover tomorrow.