Publisher: Simon Pulse
Reading Level: Young Adult
Promise. Betrayal. Confession. Revenge.
Tabitha and her four best friends all wear purity rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made back in middle school. Now Tab is fifteen, and her ring has come to mean so much more. It’s a symbol of who she is and what she believes—a reminder of her promises to herself, and her bond to her friends.
"I love this book. Like, love it love it. My heart expanded when I read it—yours will too!" — Lauren Myracle, bestselling author of ttyl and ttfn
But when Tab meets a boy whose kisses make her knees go weak, everything suddenly seems a lot more complicated. Tab’s best friend, Morgan, is far from supportive, and for the first time, Tabitha is forced to keep secrets from the one person with whom she’s always shared everything. When one of those secrets breaks to the surface, Tabitha finds herself at the center of a betrayal that splits her friends apart. As her entire world starts to unravel, Tab’s forced to re-examine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure.
When I first got the idea for Pure, I was working as an editorial assistant in New York, and reading a lot of YA fiction. Almost everything I read left me thinking, “Hmmm… this really wasn’t at all like my own high school experience.” Though my friends and I never had extreme fantasy lives (or extremely traumatic problems), the everyday stuff was definitely dramatic enough. So I decided to try to write something myself: something that captured the whirlwind rollercoaster of “normal,” and that focused on the deliciously horrible time in life when, for the first time, you’re making choices that separate you from your friends, your parents, your teachers and mentors—when you begin defining yourself as an individual.
"Anyone who has wondered about the ramifications of wearing a purity ring, both socially and religiously … will be left with plenty to think about." — Booklist, April 2009
I wasn’t very successful with this right away. In fact it took another year and a half of scribbling and scrabbling and moving away from New York to Atlanta before things really gelled. Knowing I was working on this type of project, my editor friend showed me an article about purity rings. Immediately my interest was sparked.
I knew a book about purity rings couldn’t be about whether someone broke her promise, but what happened to her normal life afterwards. What would it be like if your whole social and moral framework suddenly got broken apart? How would you decide what was right? Whose side would you be on? How would that affect other decisions you made? And suddenly I had my story—a story about forming your own morality, and how hard that is to do in the midst of all the normal pressures we face.
It took another year and a half of working on and off to finally finish what is now Pure. I hope, while you’re reading it, you think about your own promises and why you make them, but mainly I hope you just enjoy the book. I’ll look forward to your comments!
Some discussion questions to get your Pure conversation started:
- What are some promises you’ve made that have been easy to keep? What are some that have been hard?
- How does it feel when someone breaks a promise they made to you? How does it feel when you break a promise you made to someone else?
- There are a lot of relationships in this book. Which ones do you think are the strongest? Which are the weakest? What makes the strong ones strong and the weak ones not so much?
- Talk about a group, activity, band, etc. that you are really into but your best friends aren’t. How does it feel to be enjoying something that’s different?
- What is something you would be willing to stand up to defend, even if no one else around you was doing it?
- Which character in Pure did you relate to the least? What made her or him tough for you to understand?
- What surprised you while you were reading Pure?
- What do you think Morgan, Priah, Tabitha, Cara and Naeomi each learned in Pure? What did you learn?
- What types of things can you forgive your friend for? What things are unforgiveable?
- If your club or group was performing in Maverick Mayhem, what would your routine be like? (Describe in full detail! Costumes! Music! Moves!)
"Terra Elan McVoy's writing is, plainly speaking, wonderful." — The Compulsive Reader
"… if you work with high school youth, read this book. If you have high school children, read this book. If you’re in high school yourself, I totally recommend it even more." — Adam Copeland, "A Wee Blether"
"Readers will likely admire Tabitha's openheartedness and unwillingness to see things in black and white." — Publishers Weekly
"Terra McVoy has taken a very serious and popular current topic and turned it in to an applicable and relatable story for today's teens. The writing is witty, amusing and accessible to all who enjoy a true-to-life story." — Tattooed Books