Friday, April 27, 2012

Pure by Julianna Baggott

Pure by Julianna Baggott is a post-apocalyptic dystopia . . . I feel like I've been alternating between those and high-school-angst type books, and I need to break out of the rut!

In Pressia's world, there is the Dome. It's inhabited by the Pure, those who were able to enter the Dome before the Detonations, who did not suffer the consequences of the nuclear blasts. The Pure watch the rest of humanity from a distance -- nobody enters the Dome, and nobody leaves. Pressia, and everyone else she knows, struggle to survive in the ruins of their world. The Detonations caused humans to fuse with nearby objects -- Pressia's right hand fused with the rubber head of the doll she was holding -- and, in some cases, other people, animals, and even the earth itself. There's never enough food, and because the radiation causes mutations in the plants and animals, there's no guarantee that your next meal won't kill you. Order is maintained by OSR, a quasi-military group that arose after the Detonations. Every child is forcibly drafted into OSR at their sixteenth birthday . . . and Pressia is just about to turn sixteen.

Into this world comes Partridge -- a Pure. Though his father is one of the most powerful men in the Dome, Partridge has started to question everything he's been told about life in the Dome, and about the fate of his mother. Did she really die in the Detonations . . . or is she outside the Dome still? He has to find out, so he escapes. When he finds himself in danger, Pressia saves him. This chance encounter . . . is it a chance encounter? . . . will have a profound effect on both of them.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I thought that the plot was strong, one of the strongest dystopias I've read. Part of that is because the teens are not always able to defeat the plots of the all-powerful evil government. There are some great unexpected twists . . . and of course, that's all I can say about that without giving too much away! On the other hand, I found it hard to care about the characters. They rang a bit hollow for me. I also felt that the pacing of the story dragged and lagged in places. It's obvious that there will be a sequel, but I doubt that I will seek it out.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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