Get your first book for $9.99 with code BREEZE at checkout.

Join today!

We’ll make this quick.

We’ll make this quick.

First, enter your email. Then choose your move.

By pressing "Pick a book now" or "Pick a book later", you agree to Book of the Month’s Terms of use and Privacy policy.

Get your first book for $9.99 with code BREEZE at checkout.

Join today!
undefined

You did it!

You did it!

Your account is now up to date.

get the appget the app

Our app is where it’s at.

Unlock our Reading Challenge, earn prizes, and get notified of new books on our app.

Our app is where it’s at.

Unlock our Reading Challenge, earn prizes, and get notified of new books on our app.

get the ios appget the android app

Already have the app? Explore here.

get the ios appget the android app
Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

Young adult

Not So Pure and Simple

by Lamar Giles

Excellent choice

Excellent choice

Just enter your email to add this book to your box.

By pressing "Add to box", you agree to Book of the Month’s Terms of use and Privacy policy.

Quick take

Ah, the things teens do to get the girl. Like accidentally taking a purity pledge and dealing with its social stigma.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, 400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Social_Issues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Teen

    Teens

  • Illustrated icon, LOL

    LOL

Synopsis

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?

Free sample

Check out a preview of Not So Pure and Simple.

Not So Pure and Simple

Chapter 1

Pastor Newsome's rules for First Missionary House of the Lord were simple. Every head bowed (mine wasn’t) and every eye closed (nope) while he went on and on with his crazy freestyle prayers.

“Lord!” He gripped his lectern as if fighting a holy tractor beam trying to drag him to heaven right before our eyes. “We know they need to feel that touch from your never-changin’ hand, and we know someone is out there hurtin’ this morning . . .”

Hurtin’? For sure. Between my near-empty wallet forcing me to sit lopsided on that pew-of-steel and yet another infinity sermon, my pain was not in short supply. Newsome was on a roll. He ranted, threw in weird stuff no one seemed to notice, the way he totally did all the time.

“. . . and we see the evil on our TV and in our news reports, Lord. Bless those endangered spider monkeys of the Amazon rain forests!”

Like that.

“Yes, Lord, yes,” Mom mumbled. She squeezed my hand, nearly crushing my fingers with pulsing robot strength on each word. It sounded like she was cosigning on the old man’s insanity, but over the last few weeks I’d noticed her lips moving even when he wasn’t saying stuff. Not repeating Newsome’s lines. Having her own conversation with God, I guessed. The protocols of Mom’s Sunday worship were still fairly new to me.

Create a free account!

Create a free account!

Sign up to see book details, our quick takes, and more.

By pressing "Sign up", you agree to Book of the Month’s Terms of use and Privacy policy.

Why I love it

One of the things I’m loving about YA right now is that we’re seeing more and more stories being told by Black male writers about Black boys. So much of what is fed to the masses is that Black boys are troublemakers, or that there are only two types of kids: one that is a problem child and another that is squeaky clean. There can never be a Black teenage boy that falls somewhere in the middle. But in Not So Pure and Simple we see just that: a complex portrait of a lovably imperfect boy struggling with his identity in many forms.

The novel follows Del, who has had a childhood crush on Kiera Westing since literally forever. But he’s never had a shot until now—it’s their junior year and she just broke up with her boyfriend. Which means he’s ready to do anything (however unconventional) to get the girl he wants. Even if that means taking a Purity Pledge.

Like the tv show Sex Education, this book is an excellent portrayal of a male protagonist dealing with the complications of sex. Del might be acting with the best intentions, but his friends are giving him the side eye, and even his dad is worried about what this pledge means for his manhood. And though Del is all about Kiera, his actions never once consider her feelings, or what she might want.

Del’s not all troublemaker, nor all squeaky clean. He’s a nice guy who is complicated and flawed, and I loved every minute of his story. Toxic masculinity is not talked about enough, and Lamar Giles shines in speaking to this and other issues in this book.

Young adult
Ruthless Vows
What the River Knows
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow
Dragonfruit
The Reappearance of Rachel Price
Gwen & Art Are Not in Love
Check & Mate
Divine Rivals
Legendborn
Foul Lady Fortune
Anna K Away
I Must Betray You
A Wilderness of Stars
Warrior Girl Unearthed
Bloodmarked
Instructions for Dancing
These Violent Delights
The Boy in the Red Dress
Color Me In
Not So Pure and Simple
Throw Like a Girl
Frankly in Love
The Queen of Nothing
Wayward Son
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
Anna K
Patron Saints of Nothing
The Kingdom of Back
Yes No Maybe So
Looking for Alaska
Permanent Record
Full Disclosure
Oasis
Where the World Ends
I Have No Secrets
Song of the Crimson Flower
When the Stars Lead to You
All the Bright Places
Saving Zoë
Hello Girls
Symptoms of a Heartbreak
All of Us with Wings
The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World
Past Perfect Life
There's Something About Sweetie
Again, But Better
Sky Without Stars
How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom
Night Music
Shout
The Deceivers
The Astonishing Color of After
Top Ten
Turtles All the Way Down
Little & Lion
A Million Junes
And We're Off
The Sun Is Also a Star
Salt to the Sea
Young adult
View all
Ruthless Vows
What the River Knows
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow
Dragonfruit
The Reappearance of Rachel Price
Gwen & Art Are Not in Love
Check & Mate
Divine Rivals
Legendborn
Foul Lady Fortune
Anna K Away
I Must Betray You
A Wilderness of Stars
Warrior Girl Unearthed
Bloodmarked
Instructions for Dancing
These Violent Delights
The Boy in the Red Dress
Color Me In
Not So Pure and Simple
Throw Like a Girl
Frankly in Love
The Queen of Nothing
Wayward Son
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
Anna K
Patron Saints of Nothing
The Kingdom of Back
Yes No Maybe So
Looking for Alaska
Permanent Record
Full Disclosure
Oasis
Where the World Ends
I Have No Secrets
Song of the Crimson Flower
When the Stars Lead to You
All the Bright Places
Saving Zoë
Hello Girls
Symptoms of a Heartbreak
All of Us with Wings
The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World
Past Perfect Life
There's Something About Sweetie
Again, But Better
Sky Without Stars
How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom
Night Music
Shout
The Deceivers
The Astonishing Color of After
Top Ten
Turtles All the Way Down
Little & Lion
A Million Junes
And We're Off
The Sun Is Also a Star
Salt to the Sea