Title: Pure (Pure #1)
Author: Julianna Baggott
From Goodreads: "We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again."
My Opinion: Wow! That's my impression in a nutshell! This novel was so much more than I expected it to be! The world was a very dark and scary place to even imagine - easily the scariest dystopian world I've read of to date. I think it was mostly because of the people who were left after the detonations that scarred the world in Pure. People weren't just scarred from the heat or the radiation following the detonation of the bombs. They were actually fused to whatever had been near them at that moment in time - a dolls head fused to a girl's fist, a boy who had live birds fused to his back, which still lived for years after that and fluttered under his shirt, or a man who was near a fan and fused to it, causing him to breathe in and out through the fan that fused into his neck. The author went to some very ugly places to write this, but there were also moments of beauty and compassion to bring you back from the brink when you felt that you couldn't read any more about this desolate place.
Now compare that world to the world in the Dome - the people who live in the Dome were safe when the bombs went off, but that doesn't mean their lives are perfect now. The kids are being genetically modified to be faster and stronger than normal teens, and only the strongest and fittest are allowed to survive.
Into these two worlds Pressia and Partridge are born - Pressia to the darkness of the real world, and Partridge to the Dome. You may wonder how they could possibly meet since no one is ever allowed to enter or leave the Dome, but when Partridge finds out that his mother may not have died like he's always thought, and may in fact be alive in the world outside of the Dome, he finds a way to do just that, and during his travels he crosses paths with Pressia.
I thought this book was very well written - the plot was strong and the characters were amazing, but the best thing about the book was the world building. I can't even begin to imagine how Julianna Baggott thought this up, but my hat is off to her! I highly recommend this book to all lovers of dark dystopians, and I can't wait to read the next installment!!!