Publisher: Simon Pulse
You can find the author here: Terra Elan McVoy
This does contain some spoilers, but hopefully not too many.
This is one of those books that just begged me to read it. I picked it up whilst browsing in Borders. The cover is very pink and the title really grabbed my attention. Knowing how often Christian values are belittled in the media these days, I think I was drawn to this just to see how it would undermine the idea of being 'pure' by the end. I know that's pretty unfair, but religion seems to be more of an 'edgy' topic these days than sex. So I did have some trepidation and I pre-judged the book. I can't say I apologize for that, but at it turns out, I was wrong and I'm very glad about that.
The story is about a group of girls who have made purity vows. They all have rings to show that they are promised to their husbands, sometime in the future. But one of them breaks her vow and the plot flows around that as the main character, Tabitha, struggles with her own questions about what is right and what is wrong.
For me, the pacing of the book was a little slow. The conflict came later that I expected and it felt like it took too long to build it up. On reflection, the personalities of the narrator and her best friend probably needed the set-up in order for the results to make sense, but even after finishing, I feel like the pacing could've gone a little faster.
However, the story progresses and I found myself relating to Tabitha and her questions of right and wrong. She struggles to stand by her friend, Cara, in a time of confusion while trying to figure out why Morgan, her best friend, is suddenly a stranger. Tabitha affirms to herself what she knows is right, but she chooses not to just abandon her friend. She understands, more than most people, that to be Christian means to be loving, despite the "mistakes" that people make.
The author does a wonderful job of presenting this plot in a meaningful way. Teens and adults alike will be able to sympathize and struggle right along with Tabitha. As she comes to an understanding with herself and her beliefs, the plot wraps up with her making amends with Morgan. I was happy to read the ending and that the author didn't cop out and make the girls BFFs again. Tabitha and Morgan had both changed too much to go back to where they were and that, for me, was the real taste of reality for the story.
Tabitha is a wonderful character. She is developed well and her progression, if slow, is natural and honest. I was very happy that the story didn't end the way I thought it might. I'm glad to be wrong.
The author did a good job, also, of making most of the characters come alive. Even people we meet once or twice felt like they had a story and even though we didn't get to see those stories, it was nice to know they were there. I was slightly disappointed by Morgan's development. She ended up being incomplete for me, though it would've been difficult to show her struggles when Tabitha wasn't talking to her. Still, the Morgan mid-story and the ending Morgan didn't progress naturally for me. It certainly wasn't enough to ruin the book.
The threads of religion and God are strong. If you have issues reading about those things, this book isn't for you. However, I would encourage anyone, even if they don't believe the same as Tabith, to read the book. She makes some wonderful arguments and sets a great example for anyone who wants to be a better, more loving, individual - Christian or not.
Until next time - go read something good!
If you are interested in purchasing this book, please note that I have left a nice, convenient link at the side of the blog that will take you right to Amazon.com. ^_^