Title: Not So Pure and Simple
Author: Lamar Giles
Page Count: 400
Publishing Date/Publisher: January 21, 2020
Review: I was thoroughly impressed by this book. The great thing about participating in the Mock Printz Committee at my work is that sometimes I am given books that I enjoy immensely, but would probably not have read otherwise. This is one such book. It surprised me with it’s humor, depth, and important message. Oftentimes books that cover topics such as toxic masculinity and sexual agency come off as being too heavy-handed with character tropes and long inner monologues where the characters have “epiphanies”. The resulting effect is that it feels like it is trying too hard to make a statement. Giles masterfully avoided these pitfalls by giving us characters that are both lovable and realistic. He shows that even well-intentioned young men are susceptible to toxic ways of thinking and sometimes their words and actions have unintended negative effects on those around them. As a woman, I found I related to many of the female characters and their struggle to be “nice” even when they were not interested in the male pursuing them. As I have grown older, I find that sometimes it is necessary to be blunt, even if it comes off as rude, but as a younger woman, this felt like a tricky minefield to navigate. Reading this book made me realize how many behaviors are impressed upon us at an early age and really made me re-evaluate how I have simply accepted certain actions as “normal” when they really shouldn’t be.
I would consider this an important read for all teens and think it would be a great book for discussion.