This was just released in April! I found it “by accident” while perusing Barnes & Noble before leaving for Residency. I picked it up because the subject matched the mindset I needed to be in to work on my own manuscript. It was a hidden gem, that’s for sure!
Author: Jackson Pearce
Genre: Realistic Fiction, slight romance
Age: Young Adult, 15+
Warnings: Does deal with sex, and there is a non-graphic consensual sex scene involved.
Shelby Crewe’s mother made her promise three things on her death bed. First, that she loves and listens to her father. Second, that she loves as much as she can. Third, that she lives a life without restraint.
Shelby has done everything she can to fulfill Promises #1 and #3. But when her father asks her to attend a church-organized Princess Ball that asks the daughters to promise their purity to their fathers, Shelby’s looking for a loop-hole. How can she promise to stay a virgin until marriage if she also promised to live a life without restraint? Thus starts Shelby’s journey of finding a boy to have sex with her. No attachment. No strings. She just wants to lose her virginity.
I laughed out loud. Several times. There were also a lot of times I wanted to write down great one-liner quotes. (My favorite off the top of my head: “I’m pretty sure I’m too white to dance to this music.”) Pearce has a way of broaching serious topics (sex and God) while still making the novel light and entertaining. It’s a great way to get a “message” across to teen readers without sounding like you’re preaching at them – a definite bonus for any and all teens!
What I liked best was how real Shelby was. She knew what she wanted and she didn’t want to hold back. She knew that having sex before she’s really sure she’s ready isn’t necessary something she should be doing, but she has to find a way to get out of the promise of purity to her father. Along the way, though, she realizes that she’s been not really adhering to Promise #1. She listens to her father, but in the most basic and surface of ways. The novel’s as much about Shelby and her dad finding a father-daughter relationship as it is about Shelby trying to have sex, coming to terms with who she’s really in love with, and questioning God’s plan.
The writing is light and quick. It flows perfectly. I found it hard to put it down. And coming in at just over 200 pages, it’s a quick read for most teens. And even those who are slow readers can enjoy the “smallness” of the page count.
It’s a Summer 2012 Pick, definitely! I’d recommend this to anyone – it’s just a genuinely GOOD read.
Rating… 9/10 stars.