Not So Pure and Simple. In More Ways than One.
In this young adult contemporary, Giles tackles societal standards and toxic masculinity. He does this in a fun, accessible yet informative way, using social media as a major tool.
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 will follow. 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 program progresses though, Del realizes that it may be harder than it seems to accomplish what he wants. First, the girl of his dreams, Kiera, approaches him frostily, not swayed by his sudden interest in being ‘pure’. Second, Del did not even stop to consider whether Kiera was interested in him as well. This frustrates Del, as she begins hanging out with another guy, and he can not seem to make any headway with her. Pile on other teen concerns like sexual reputation and experience; car payments; a woke sister; a distracted friend; Pastor Newsome; job tension and Del has a 'lot' to overcome.
When his plans fall short and the girl of his dreams turns out to not be what HE dreamed, Del lashes out and resorts to blaming Kiera. What he fails to see is that he did not take into consideration what Kiera wanted, all he cared about was satisfying HIS wants. After a confrontation with a friend and a family conference that reveals a frightening incident that happened to his sister (that is still too prevalent in our society), Del must now reflect and understand what made him think that he had a right to Kiera.
Giles did a great job of exploring the double standards that cast a shadow on women for making their own choices about their bodies as well as shining a light on how men are socialized to believe that they are entitled to women’s time, spaces and bodies.
A timely and relevant story.