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Not So Pure and Simple

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  462 ratings  ·  150 reviews
Two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles delivers his first contemporary YAan 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, shes 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
Its probably more of a 3.5 but Im rounding up.

I didnt 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 Ive previously read an anthology edited by Lamar Giles called Fresh Ink which was amazing, so I was expecting this to be equally compelling.

Its actually been a while since Ive read a YA contemporary because Ive started feeling a bit too old for them, so Im trying not to project my
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.
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.
Argh! I have such conflicting feelings about this!

-This was very readable. It's almost four in the morning and I stayed up to finish because I just had to know what was going to happen next.
-It was funny. I definitely chuckled to myself on certain lines. I just remember, "He bored me, Del. Not everything is tragic."
-I love Jameer! Also the friend group is very diverse and sweet.
-It was also very Black. I found myself frustrated that races weren't mentioned before I just decided to
Amanda Lawford
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall: 3.8 stars.

Quality of Writing: 3
Pace: 4
Plot Development: 4
Characters: 3
Enjoyability: 4
Insightfulness: 5
Ease of Reading: 4

Savings opinions to share at Book Club. I think this will make a good discussion.
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
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Give this book to boys create a book club for all the boys who like to opine that they are nice guys ...more
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
Nikki S
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I waited to read this one because of the religious aspect, but it wasn't preachy or anything, just a really good, well written story. Review to come.
Jessika Santulli
In typical 17-year-old fashion, Del Rainey starts going to church. Not because he really believes in getting closer to God, but because his longtime crush, Keira, is very active in the church community. She's fresh from a breakup, and Del believes he's finally gotten his chance. The only problem? He's accidentally signed up for a purity pledge and must attend weekly meetings with teens who are pledging to remain chaste until marriage. Through the pledge, he makes a new friend, Jameer, who vows ...more
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
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!

Ill admit this book did take some time to get into and I wasnt 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 youre a man. So,
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sam Bloom
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this so much that the too-neat ending couldnt even knock it down to 4 stars... so, so good. ...more
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
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
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
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, audio
I've enjoyed Giles's teen thrillers before, but this is his first step into contemporary YA fiction.  He's gifted us with a nuanced look at sexism and the ignorance of "good guys" that is also chock full of humor and characters you root for.  Del is a likable guy - very funny, smart, and well-intentioned, but faltering where a lot of teens do. Who can blame kids for screwing up when adults send them such mixed messages on complicated matters like sex?  Del's peers are also complicated, rich ...more
Not So Pure and Simple is well written, and feels hugely realistic in so many ways. The target audience very much seems to be teenage boys, which I quite clearly am not, and for that reason alone I never really connected with the book in the way I had hoped I would.

The blurb states that Giles confronts toxic masculinity. Personally I think that's pushing it a bit, as a theme it's definitely explored, but I definitely don't feel like it was 'confronted'. Having said that, it definitely opens a
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.
Gordon Jack
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up Lamar Giles book because I thought it would be a sex comedy. The premise is great. Del adores Kiera Westing so much that when she takes the Purity Pledge at their church he does too, hoping this pact will finally make her notice him. Hes a virgin, but passes himself off as experienced to the other pledgers. When they come to him with questions about sex, he answers them because neither their church nor school wants to touch the subject. The opening chapters in the book are funny and ...more
Ms. Yingling
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided by Follett First Look

I really, really liked this one, but it is more of a YA book. There's nothing inappropriate, and I admire Giles' circumspect writing, but it's also a LOT about sex, in a way that the majority middle grade readers are just not that interested. There is a bit of drinking. I loved the inclusion of religion (I spent a LOT of time involved with church youth group in grades 6-12), the strong family ties, and the way that Del has a huge crush on the very popular Kiera
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
Gina Adams
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-faves
This book was fantastic. It was so realistic and had so much heart. The character development, not only in Del, our main character, but all the characters, was so believable and they grew and progressed so naturally as people. I love the way the topics of toxic masculinity and teen sexuality were handled, and I'm obviously impressed at the way the male author navigated feminism and changing the way that men view women. The writing style was so accessible; I feel it will be especially helpful in ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book way more than I first thought. After I read the summary, I thought this would be a nice little read without much meaning but I was wrong!
It was a nice read but the feminism in this was strong! On his way through the book Del learned what is right and wrong and how not to treat women and I loved it!
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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.

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