Google+ Reading Teen: Pure by Julianna Baggott: Book & Audiobook Review

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pure by Julianna Baggott: Book & Audiobook Review

by Julianna Baggott

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.

Narrated by: Khristine Hvam, Joshua Swanson, Kevin T. Collins, Casey Holloway
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Buy the Audio:  Audible

The Audio:

They had four people reading for this audiobook.  FOUR!  That's freaking awesome!  Each chapter is written from the point of view of Pressia, Partridge, El Capitan, or Lyda, and each of these chapters were read by a different person.  I obviously loved this.  It really helped give each character their own voice and personality.  I loved Pressia's voice (Khristine Hvam).  She read for Why We Broke Up and did a great job with that book as well.  I thought Lyda (Casey Holloway) and El Capitan's (Kevin T. Collins) voices were perfect too.  Lyda's especially, as it sounded like she was actually a teenager.  The only one I wasn't crazy about was Partridge's chapters.  Joshua Swanson read for those and he was a little too nasal and he sounded like he was about 35, which I don't prefer.  I did get used to it, though, and it seemed like he got better as the book went on.  Overall, I really enjoyed this audiobook, as is evidenced by the fact that I just got it three days ago and already finished it.  It was easy to listen to and get completely wrapped up in this bizarre world that Julianna Baggott created.

If you'd like to listen to a sample of Pure, click here.  To listen to samples of each of the readers, click their names in the above paragraph!

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 8, 2012)
Language: English
Buy the Book:  Amazon

At a Glance:

I am blown away by this book! It is seriously amazing and intense. Definitely not for everyone, especially those who are squeamish or are looking for a light read, but I loved it!  I mean, Pressia has a freaking doll's head for a hand!  

Why I loved it:

There are so many things that I loved about this book, I don't even know where to begin.  The world building was just incredible.  I mean, you definitely have to leave reality at the door, even more than most dystopians.  I'd even venture to say this book leans a little toward the fantasy realm, but that's ok with me.  It was harsh, and gritty, and fierce, and just so freaking cool!  I seriously can't stop thinking about it!  The tone kind of reminds me of The Book of Eli or something like that.  Only in this post-apocalyptic world, people who didn't make it to the Dome ended up fused with anything and everything imaginable, in every way you can think of.  It was disturbing.....but I guess I'm a fan of disturbing.  

I loved that the book was told from multiple viewpoints.  I think you get a much better look into the personalities of everyone when books are written this way, and I enjoyed reading each of them.  Pressia is a fantastic heroine.  She's so brave and determined.  Even though she can be naive at times, I found myself loving her, doll hand and all!  Partridge is immediately likeable.  I loved everything about him.  Even when he was trying to be mean, he couldn't really pull it off, and I completely fell for him.  Bradwell.....he was a tough one.  At first I just wanted to punch him, but then I completely turned around.  I love that he is so smart and passionate, and that he'd do anything to protect his friends.  Lyda was a surprising character.  I thought she'd be just a blip in the book, and we'd never really see her after the beginning, but I was wrong about her.  She kept surprising me with her strength, over and over.  Then there's all the other bizarre and fascinating characters, El Capitan and his fused brother, Helmud.  Yeah....they're fused together.  That freaky Ingership and his creepy wife (they seriously gave me the chills!), and all the other strange or grotesque beings that they encountered.  I loved them all!  Well, some I loved to hate, but I was just amazed at the inventiveness of them!

I know that I really love a book, when I just can't stop thinking about it, and I just can't stop thinking about Pure.  I'm completely mesmerized by it!

The Downside:

Well, I hate to say, this book will not be loved by all.  It wasn't a quick read, or a happy-times read, and those who don't care for blood, fighting, war, and disturbing characters, will find themselves a little sick to their stomachs.  There were a couple of times where my whole face made that "OH YUCK" face.  If you thought that The Hunger Games was a cruel and disturbing world, you ain't seen nothin' yet.  But, this book has something that is crucial, in my opinion (which THG lacked) and that is hope.  Even though horrible things are happening, there's hope for a better future (at least so far).

Book or Audio:

Honestly, I loved them both.  I actually read when I was at home, and listened to the audio in the car.  I couldn't get enough of it!  If you're looking for a new audiobook, I DEFINITELY recommend this one.  

Will I buy it?

Well, the publisher actually sent the hardcover of this one, so no, but I totally would if I didn't have it already.

Book Doppelgangers:

For the weirdness and world-building:  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor,  For the disturbingness:  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Article 5 by Kristen Simmons, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, For the Dome v. Outside:  Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • Profanity:  Heavy
  • Sexual Content:  Mild
  • Violence:  Very Heavy
  • Other Notables:  Disturbing creatures
For more details, check out Pure on


  1. The audio book sounds awesome! I really enjoyed Pure. I can imagine how great the audio is with each PoV being a different reader. Great review!!

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it too! After I wrote my review I looked on goodreads, and so many people didn't like it. I was really surprised! The audiobook was really good!

  2. I can´t say that enjoy this book, because it was a difficult read, to raw but in the end I like it.
    Great review!

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. It is really raw! Thanks a bunch!

  3. I'm glad you liked it! And ha, you DID compare it to the Hunger Games.

    1. I know!! Haha! I totally thought about you when I wrote that!! But only as it relates to the disturbing violence, not the actual story. :)

  4. Wow, I didn't realize it was that seriously disturbing. It doesn't seem like it would be with a name like Pure. I think yours is the first review I've read of it, or maybe it was the first completely honest review. I think I could handle the gore, but I saw that trailer with her hand as a doll's head and I don't know. I'm sure it gets much worse. Maybe I should try Article 5 first and see if I can get through that!

    Thanks for that very open review. I love how honest it was! I am so glad you enjoyed it so much!



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