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.
If the world ended, would you survive? Pressia and her Grandfather live in a broken, shattered world created by a series of detonations set off when Pressia was seven years old that left almost everyone dead or mutated. These survivors are known as the Wretches and are often morphed to objects, other people, or animals. Pressia is bound to a doll’s head by her fist. The only survivors that remain truly intact, the Pures, live within a dome that seems to mockingly watch the havoc. Now, Pressia’s world is run by Operation Sacred Revolution. Almost sixteen now, the OSR will come for her to be a soldier. Instead of falling prey to the OSR, however, Pressia stumbles upon a Pure. This Pure asks for her help. He wants to find his mother who had not made her way to the dome before the detonations began. The Pure boy believes his mother is alive outside. Pressia and the Pure boy, Partridge, are joined by another boy. Bradwell has been able to evade the OSR and seems unwilling to help Pressia and Partridge with their mission. Bradwell only agrees to help Partridge after Pressia is kidnapped by the OSR. Meanwhile, someone Partridge cares about but left behind in the dome, Lyda, is in danger. Julianna Baggott created a fascinating dystopian world in her novel Pure.
Pressia is capable and reliable. She struggles to protect her Grandfather though she cannot control the world around her. Pressia is talented mechanically and creates beautiful and delicate mechanical butterflies and insects out of the wrecked plastic and metal she scavenges around her home. Partridge is smart, dedicated, and caring. He is the son of a dome official and finds it nearly impossible to live up to his father’s standards. Bradwell is an orphan who is believed to be dead by the OSR and leads a group who hate the dome and the OSR.
I give Pure five out of five stars. Baggott’s work sucked me in and refused to let me go although it was one in the morning and I was exhausted. This book should not be read by young readers. Pure seems appropriate for young adults, high school aged readers. Baggott’s novel is often compared to The Hunger Games. I find this assessment fair. The ideas are similar, but both novels are unique.
*Review by Kristin*
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