Pure by Julianna Baggott

cover image

Headline, 2012. ISBN 9780755385492.
Recommended for Young Adult - Adult readers. Enter the post-apocalyptic world of Pressia Belize and hold on tight for a rollercoaster ride through the dark and disturbing world she inhabits. The life of the two main protagonists is examined throughout the book. We flip flop between Pressia and Partridge - Pressia residing in the world with a doll head fused to her hand after the Detonations. Patridge resides in the Dome - an area protected from the Detonations by nanobots and nanotechnologies that allowed them to be unaffected.
I was taken out of my comfort zone reading this book as it examines the depths of human misery taking the reader through despair to utter desolation. Extraordinary imagery woven beautifully by Julianna Baggott allows the reader to almost be there in the book with the characters. Patridge's journey to the outer world is painful and draws the reader in.
Dark themes and death pervade the book but the characters are real and likeable. It is addictive reading once you get your head around what is happening. Elements of the story are plausible and I personally think that is what makes it so disturbing. Although the main characters are mostly teenagers it is not your usual book full of teen angst - it is gritty and dangerous.
Pure is extremely dark and the world created by Julianna Baggott is grotesque. But behind these images which you cannot avoid is a story of hope, perseverance and survival. I would recommend it for older readers and adults as I believe that younger readers would find it a very disturbing read.
Elaine Grottick