Pure by Julianna Baggott: Book Review

PURE by Julianna Baggott Book Review
Series: Pure, #1
Publication Date: February 8th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .

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.

Pure by Julianna Baggott Book Review Overview:

  • Excellent world-building of a post-apocalyptic society
  • Slow pacing that allows Julianna Baggott to develop the story
  • Nail-biting conclusion that will make your jaw drop

What makes PURE by Julianna Baggott so different is the post-apocalyptic world that she has created. Her descriptive writing brings out the gore, mutilations, and sometimes the beauty from the pages. The writing is vivid that I can just close my eyes and see Julianna Baggott’s world come to life. The survivors of the Detonations are anything but pretty. They are strong and determined and unfortunately characterized by their mutilations.

PURE by Julianna Baggott is told from the perspective of various characters, but mainly focuses on the narratives of Pressia and Partridge. Though at first I thought that the other narratives were a bit distracting, they are integral to the overall story. Julianna Baggott does not include them just because. The characters’ narratives are seamlessly integrated by the end of the book.

Julianna Baggott takes the time to cultivate her characters and the world in PURE so the pacing was a bit slow. At first, PURE by Julianna Baggott was a page-turner because the world she has created is so novel and interesting, but after a while, the excitement plateaus when there is not a lot of action going on. Nothing really happens until the last third of the book. Usually, I would have Big Issues with this, but because PURE by Julianna Baggott is about a world that’s just so striking, I was willing to let the issue slide. Furthermore, that last third of PURE by Julianna Baggott was absolutely gripping and full of jaw-dropping awesomeness. The slow build-up made for a much more satisfying climax.

As a note, I do think that this one is more of an adult book than a young adult book, though the characters are mid to late teens. The themes in this book are a lot heavier than your typical young adult dystopian/post-apocalyptic. I think there is certainly a lot of young adult appeal for teen readers, but keep in mind that PURE by Julianna Baggott is a heavier read because yes, she makes you think. Julianna Baggott makes readers question the consequences of atomic and nuclear weapons. Yes, PURE is a work of fiction, but in reality, the effects of these weapons are scary, too. Julianna Baggott wants readers to think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The extent of the damage of the nuclear weapons used in World War II are still felt to this day. Furthermore, there was always the thought of what if lurking in my head as I read the book: what if this happened to us?

The world-building is fantastic and Julianna Baggott knows how to put her readers at the edge of her seat. But because of the slow beginning, I do believe that PURE by Julianna Baggott is suited for older readers who are already established fans of the dystopian/post-apocalyptic genre. I would suggest Borrowing this book before buying it, unless you really, really love this genre.

Other Book Reviews:
Book Monkey
The Paper Planes
See It or Read It

About the Author

Also writes under the pen names N.E. Bode and Bridget Asher.

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott has published fourteen books over the last ten years with five novels slated for publication in the next four years. She began publishing when she was twenty-two and sold her first novel while still in her twenties. There are thirty-one foreign editions of her novels to date.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads


  1. I enjoyed your review. I have also read PURE and found that I enjoyed the fact that Julianna Baggott knew how to keep us on the edge and reading feverishly until the end. Such an amazing dystopian twist in PURE.

  2. Thank you for mentioning the fact that it’s sort of YA and sort of not, esp. with the themes and whatnot. I’ve been wondering about that. Hope to read it sooner or later though, because it sounds quite interesting.

    Great review. :)

  3. Definitely an interesting premise. Sounds very promising. I’m a fan of world building, so I’m sure I’ll love it.

  4. Very thorough review. I like the style of your review. It is by far more informative than may reviews that I have seen. Thank you. I recently bought this book, and really look forward to reading it. :) :)

  5. Yay for heavy books! I really love a good dark and heavy dystopian. They’re some of my absolute favorite. Also, world-building is, like, my very favorite thing when it comes to books so I’m super glad to hear Pure has awesome world-building :]

  6. I am looking forward to this! I’ve been enjoying the dystopian genre. Not too sure about the nail biting ending though!!

  7. Thanks for the review! I don’t mind slow build ups as long as it builds up to awesome, so I’ll definitely check this out.

Leave a Reply