Tabitha and her four best friends all wear Purity Rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made as tweens. Now the girls are fifteen, and their rings have come to symbolize not only their purity, but also the friendships and identities they've built based on their shared faith. Simmering tensions rise to the surface and the group is split apart when one of Tab's friends admits that she and her long-term boyfriend have broken the pledge. In the midst of the confrontations, betrayals, confessions, and revenge that follow, each girl is forced to reexamine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure.
Which is more important, remaining loyal to ideals or loyal to friends? This is one of the questions high school sophomore Tabitha faces in this first novel featuring five Christian girls, who have vowed to remain virgins until marriage. When the girls received their purity rings at age 12, right and wrong seemed clear-cut to Tabitha, but now that she is in high school and dating a boy she really likes, the lines are blurring. The girls' friendships are thrown into flux when one member of the group breaks her promise of chastity, with two hard-liners basically abandoning their former friend, while Tabitha remains compassionate. The story hits at several issues relevant to teens, including freedom of speech, and while some peripheral characters come off a little plastic, Tabitha's relationships, particularly with her new boyfriend and her parents, are well-executed. ("Dad's neuroto-perfections and their early intelli-romance aren't really what I want to be discussing right now," Tabitha thinks during a heart-to-heart with her mother following a fight.) Readers will likely admire Tabitha's openheartedness and unwillingness to see things in black and white. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)
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April 05, 2009
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