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Not So Pure and Simple

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles delivers his first contemporary YA—an eye-opening novel that spotlights societal pressures, confronts toxic masculinity, and asks the question: What does it mean to be a “real man”?

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by HarperTeen
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Tamara Nothing more explicit than the description of kissing and heavy petting. There is nothing along the lines of lusty or romance novel-esque love scenes.

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Jun 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-buy
art historians have confirmed that this is indeed a true Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece
It’s probably more of a 3.5 but I’m rounding up.

I didn’t even know about this book until a few weeks ago but when I saw the author tweet about the kind of themes he was talking about in it, I wanted to give it a try. And I’ve previously read an anthology edited by Lamar Giles called Fresh Ink which was amazing, so I was expecting this to be equally compelling.

It’s actually been a while since I’ve read a YA contemporary because I’ve started feeling a bit too old for them, so I’m trying not to
mindful.librarian ☀️
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, aoc
A much-needed and original YA story about masculinity, sexuality, religion and friendship. A must-read.
This was so good - sharp and funny and thoughtful and messy. I think it would be such an interesting buddy read with HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME to see how the conversation changes across gender and racial lines, both implicitly and explicitly. Lamar Giles really is one of the few autobuy authors I will follow to the ends of the bookish earth and it was true before this book but it's officially cemented now.
Kat (Why Read)
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I woke up bright and early at 4am for work only to remember halfway out the door that I'm off! So I spent the morning binging a new book. HarperTeen @harpercollinsus entrusted me with an advanced reader copy of #notsopureandsimple by @lamargiles for an honest review.

This was a necessary read about a misguided boy named Del in love with a girl named Kiera. It's reminiscent of a 90s sitcom comedy where the male protagonist is so focused on "winning the girl" that he fails to acknowledge that
Bang Bang Books
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My biggest issue with this book was the writing style. I don't like this straight forward style of writing; I prefer a prosey style like Nicola Yoon. But this is a me problem and not the book's problem.

Issues I Had With This Book
* There's Nothing Fancy Here, Folks: Giles writing style is not quotey or prosey or lyrical; it's very straight forward. The teens talk like teens and they act like teens and although this is realistic, I find it boring. But as I stated above, that's my problem and not
Lamar Giles is the real deal when it comes to writing well-developed, complex teen characters. In this book, he takes on toxic masculinity, particularly where it comes to boys thinking they are "the good ones," when in fact, they're playing right into the systems that contribute to being exactly the opposite.

Del has had a crush on Kiera for forever, but she's always been with another guy. So when he sees his opportunity to swoop in when she's single, he agrees to take part in a Purity Pledge at
Max Baker
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you Edelweiss for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest review

There's a lot about Not So Pure and Simple that should be celebrated. For one, this is the rare YA book with a male protagonist that discussing sex education from a male perspective. Books like Have a Little Faith in Me, The Nowhere Girls, and Moxie are all wonderful books that deal with female sex education, but this is the first one that made me realize...we don't really teach boys about sex either. Sure
Re •
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, arcs
First and foremost thank you so much to HCCFRENZY for this ARC Happy early BIRTHDAY!! Of course all opinions are my own!

I’ll admit this book did take some time to get into and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the characters. But you know what? I was pretty alright with Del Rainey, he actually made me respect him a little more by the end of the book. Thought I gotta hand a good chunk of my kudos to Cressie, Shianne, Jameer and even Qwan. They made this book worthwhile!

Because you’re a man.
Kim Bongiorno
Del is just a regular high school junior with a long-time crush on classmate Kiera. Then by some miracle, she's suddenly single, and he's willing to do ANYTHING to get her to see she's supposed to be with him. Yes, including joining the Purity Pledge Group at their church, run by a pastor whose curriculum happens to be the exact opposite of the school's sex ed (not that they call it that) class. Getting that girl is all that matters.

I bought this book after seeing author Tracey Baptiste
Colline Vinay Kook-Chun
This is a novel that adolescent boys need to read! It describes the fumblings of a teen boy as he attempts to attract the attention of a girl he likes. With all the advice given to him by various people, he learns to make his own decisions – and to live with the consequences. This novel is a diverse read that focuses on a topic that is an essential one for adolescents: the interactions one has with the opposite sex, and how to treat the people you are attracted to.

Not So Pure and Simple focuses
Alex (PaperbackPiano)
I genuinely loved everything about this book! When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it which I always think is a sign of a great read. There were aspects of it that reminded me of the movie Easy A so if you enjoyed that, this is definitely a book for you ;)

The characters are one of this novel's biggest strengths. If I'm being honest, protagonist Del comes across as a bit of a jerk at first but as the author says in his opening note, you will genuinely come to like him. The more you
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a very timely, accessible book that I hope lots of boys read. It captures the insecurity and bravado and general confusion that all teens experience about dating and sex - from misinformation shared by school programs and church organizations to bad advice from parents, peers and Google. The setting delivers timely conflict and Lamar Giles balances the expression of religious influence and social media evenly. I found Del pretty unlikable but very real. His character development was ...more
Kelly Hager
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really, really enjoyed this. My one qualm is that I don't feel like I ever knew Del outside of his obsession with Kiera. I wanted to know more about who he was as a person: his thoughts on religion, his everyday quirks, his dreams, and aspirations. But besides that, the cast of characters is drawn so vividly and they each hook you into their individual stories! What I really love most about this is the subject matter. It's a conversation piece on toxic masculinity and rape culture from the ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable!
Definitely a big fan of the book and about 2/3 of the way through it I did just want it to pick up the pace a little bit but all told, the story and characters were intricately drawn and a fantastic representation of societal pressure and growing up.

Del certainly wants a specific girl that he's been pining away on, but she's always been with other guys and now he's trying to make his move. He also ends up finding his entry point in a church group pledging chastity of which he "accidentally"
I picked up this book for two reasons: see how religion was presented and stay up-to-date with young adult literature. The religion part will take the most time, which means I am going to start with the young adult portion.

In terms of young adult literature (6th to 12th grade), I felt the content and how it was written was more for high school. Yes, there might be kids in middle school who talk like the characters and the content might be important, but as a general statement I say this book is
DISCLAIMER: I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This hasn’t influenced my opinions.

This was a perfect book to read during Black history month (US) and LGBT history month (UK) as it covered both topics fairly and respectfully.

It was really nice to read about black culture via the viewpoint of a black teenager and his growth as a person throughout the book as he learns what it means to be a man and about toxic masculinity. It
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
When Del’s mother starts going to church, she drags him along with her. The only thing that gets Del through those dull sermons is watching Kiera Westing, a girl he’s had a crush on since kindergarten. Even better, for the first time ever, Kiera is single! Now it’s up to Del to figure out a way to get close to her. When he sees Kiera joining a group of other students up at the front of the church, Del joins them, not realizing that he’s agreed to be part of the Purity Pledge, not to have sex ...more
♛ Cameron ♛
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

This book had such an interesting take on toxic masculinity. Too often we associate it with Chads who are jocks on the football team. This is about men not being able to connect with women as people. I also loved how it showed the sex education angle from the male perspective. It helps shed some light on how men are supposed to be experienced, but they aren’t taught sex ed as well.

Del has had a crush on Kiera since kindergarten. Now, during their junior year, she’s finally available.
Brianna Carrasco
Originally, I wasn't too interested in this book. I didn't see how it could bring anything new to the table, but I thought I'd give it a try. Surprisingly, I liked it much better than I thought I would. But there were still a few things that didn't quite hit four stars for me.

To start, the story sort of dragged in some points, to the point where I sort of rushed over a few paragraphs to make it go by faster. I guess as an adult woman out of high school, some of the themes and topics in the book
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
In this young adult contemporary, Giles tackles societal standards and toxic masculinity. He does this in a fun, accessible yet informative way.

Del has a major crush; has had it for a long time, so when the opportunity presents itself, he is determined to get the girl of his dreams. This is where the reader is cued into what follows. With the help of a new ‘friend’ and a church initiative, Del begins laying plans. He becomes a part of the Purity Pledge all with one aim: getting the girl. As the
Katie O
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents bought my sister and me our first purity rings. Essentially the concept of sexual purity and, ultimately, virginity became a massive part of both my sister's and my core identities--and, as our sexual choices clashed with sacred commitments, you can imagine how much therapy we needed later.

That may be TMI for you, but I just want to give you some perspective on how deeply this book SPOKE to me. It's beyond relevant, not only to me personally,
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
"You think you're nice, Del. You think you're nicer than Mason. You spent all that time in her church activities, doing pledges and praying, and whatever else you thought she liked. Things that ain't really you. But, because you were so nice when you were doing that fake shit, she owes you something, right?"

2.5 stars

This is one of those books that is "important" but I didn't really find this an enjoyable reading experience. I definitely understood what Giles was going for, and I think this
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristina Hart
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

This year I have decided to branch out and read a variety of genres. Usually I don’t read a whole lot of contemporary, but I was sent this book to review and decided this was to be my next read. Fast forward a day and I have finished it, and now I’m converted to YA contemporary!

This story follows Del, a teenager from a small town. All he’s ever wanted, is to be with Kiera, a girl he’s grown up with. The issue is, she doesn’t really notice him. His mum makes
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been trying to articulate my feelings for this book for days and I still can’t find the right words.

This book was SO GOOD. It’s a
hilarious journey through an all-too-common space that encourages (overtly and/or covertly) toxic masculinity, misogyny, sex, sex education, the (lack of) a separation between church and state, and lies.

You make this journey through these complex intersections alongside a protagonist, Del, who maybe initially seems like a jerk, but has you rooting for him anyway.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story is an incredible look at the double standards girls face in regards to having sex, as well as an insightful look into the different types of toxic masculinity that exist in our world.

Del has had a crush on schoolmate Kiera ever since Kindergarten but has never had the nerve to ask her out. When she and her boyfriend finally break up, he determines that this is the perfect time to finally ask her out. His plan to date her is by (unknowingly at first) agreeing to the same purity pledge
MCZ Reads
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: botm-selections
I had such high expectations for Not So Pure and Simple—I hoped for an exploration toxic masculinity as well as a critique of church youth culture—and this book delivered. I thought it treated each topic with the depth it deserved, and in a way that would be accessible for teens.

This book works because all the characters are crafted so well. They manage to be funny and infuriating; they make dumb mistakes and get angry, but there are moments of sincere wisdom. I also loved all the references to
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Lamar "L. R." Giles writes books for teens and adults. FAKE ID, his debut Young Adult Thriller, will be published by HarperCollins in 2014. He is represented by Jamie Weiss Chilton of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and resides in Chesapeake, VA with his wife.