[This book was gifted by Harper 360 – Released 21st January 2020]
Not So Pure and Simple is a book that i was really excited about being released in 2020. I’ve had a proof copy for a couple of months and finally got around to reading it before its release, i read it, i absolutely loved it.
This story follows Del, who’s had a crush for literally years. When Kiera volunteers for an opporunity at their church, Del makes sure he follows her lead. Del continues to lust after Kiera with issues surrounding his family, friends, work life and school life, there’s a lot going on in his life at once. He’s trying really hard, but does it make him a good person?
I was really unsure of this book at first, it oozes ‘lad’ culture and i honestly cringed my way through a lot of it, wondering if it was worth a DNF. I found it quite offensive to be honest, and the way women are spoken about during most of this book is pretty derogatory. I found some parts of it pretty difficult to read because of that.
The whole story is based around the church, which i also wasn’t a huge fan of, but it feels very well in the story. It was written respectfully and i didn’t have any issues, apart from the obvious repression of women. It became highly frustrating for me and i couldn’t see a point where this would stop and get better. To the point it became quite upsetting.
It’s unimaginable that a book that would be published in 2020 would have such backwards views on women. There are triggers of sexual abuse, stalking, underage sex and derogatory terms in this book, which is a lot to take on at once.
Until the last fifty pages, i hated Del. He was the same as the rest of the characters and talked down about most others. What this book truly is about is how one moment changes someones opinion, and how you grow from an event. Once Del discovers his sisters secrets, talks to more of his classmates about how him and others are behaving towards women, Del comes to some kind of revolution about his behaviour. It’s sort of a classic coming of age, and realising what’s right and wrong in a really interesting way.
I’ve never read a book that focuses on that character change so intently. Admittedly, a lot of the book was offensive, but you see why once you come to the resolution. I really appreciated seeing a character develop and change like Del did, and the reasons that came about. The entire story is Del figuring out if everything would work out once he got the girl. I was a little worried there would be a lack of representation in this book too. There is a token gay kid, however it was done quite well all things considered.
The writing of this book is quite similar to that of Angie Thomas, in a really wonderful way. It was an incredibly colloquial read, and something that really sucks you in and you feel apart of the community and Del’s friends. It worked really well with the context of the book too.
Overall, i enjoyed this read, i’d probably read it again and it’s something that has stuck with me for a little while after reading, that doesn’t often happen. It’s got some good characters, some really strong points of view and honestly a really great message. It’s probably for the older YA market, so keep that in mind, and there’s an awful lot of discussion around sex. All that said, i ended up loving this book so much more than i ever thought i would.