"Hysterical. I couldn't put it down." (Nic Stone) "I laughed, I gasped, I church grunted through every chapter." (Tiffany D. Jackson) "Heartfelt and hilarious on every page " (Justin A. Reynolds)
4 starred reviews * An Indie Next List Pick * Named one of Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year
Two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles spotlights the consequences of societal pressure, confronts toxic masculinity, and explores the complexity of what it means 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 opportunity at their church, Del's right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he's inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.
His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn't believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del's not about to lose his dream girl, and that's where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers' questions...about sex ed.
With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can't think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it'll all sort itself out. Right?
"With true-to-life characters and a straightforward handling of sex, including often ignored aspects of male sexuality, Giles's thoughtful, hilarious read offers a timely viewpoint on religion, toxic masculinity, and teen sexuality." (Publishers Weekly, "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List")
- ISBN-13: 9780062349194
- ISBN-10: 0062349198
- Publisher: Quill Tree Books
- Publish Date: January 2020
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Page Count: 400
- Reading Level: Ages 12-17
Not So Pure and Simple
Del has had a crush on Kiera for forever. So when Kiera joins a group at First Missionary Church and takes a purity pledge—promising to abstain from sex until marriage—Del stands up and joins, too. The pledge group will have classes and activities together, so it’ll be a great way for Del to spend time with Kiera, right? Between working at his fast-food job and secretly running a sexual-health Q&A service, Del throws himself into memorizing scripture—and dodging questions about his romantic escapades, about which he’s been intentionally lying for years.
Two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles tells two stories at once in Not So Pure and Simple. One is a comedy of errors, as Del’s attempts to spend time alone with Kiera go increasingly awry. The other is a story of whether clever schemes are the best way for a young man to get closer to a young woman. Where does the line fall between appropriate and inappropriate attention?
When Del’s sister’s YouTube channel becomes a social media sensation amid online pushback against the prevailing discourse surrounding a series of local teen pregnancies, Del realizes he may not be alone in having some learning to do. Perhaps First Missionary Church and Del’s small-town community could all benefit from a shift in perspective.
Dialogue between Del and his father, older sister and other characters gives readers a view of gender politics from balanced perspectives without interfering with Del’s authentic narrative voice. Sharp readers will find Easter egg references to some of Giles’ favorite contemporary books and authors embedded in the text, providing pointers for what to read next.
Giles successfully integrates social justice themes into Del’s story while maintaining a genuinely engaging and often hilarious tone.