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A NOTE FROM LAMAR:
When I was young there was no shortage of guys willing to give me advice. From uncles, to older cousins, to peers (didn’t we all know that kid who seemed to exude advanced knowledge of things both necessary and forbidden). I even remember a janitor giving me some unsolicited tips once when he noticed me noticing my crush-of-the-moment passing by in the hall. A few of the suggestions were good (“When it comes to cologne less is more”), some of it middling (“You should grow a goatee”). Most of it though…WAS SO HORRIBLY BAD I CANNOT EVEN! OH MY GOODNESS! I WILL NEVER TELL YOU WHAT THAT JANITOR SAID BECAUSE IT’S THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES!
If it wasn’t advice, it was innuendo. A slight tip of the chin. A raised eyebrow. A smirk. All indicating, you know what to do here—even if you really don’t. Because you’re a man. So man up. Don’t lose your Man Card. A man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.
Wow, we were all so clueless. Many of us stay clueless. Willfully so. How else do the uglier messages of manhood persist into modern times, simply to be defended as “locker room talk”? Why else do we wait to call out such horrific behavior until it’s on the biggest and brightest stages? The answers are complicated, plagued by centuries old patriarchal standards. In Not So Pure and Simple, Green Creek, Virginia is not immune.
Delbert Rainey, Jr. is a Frankenstein’s Monster of bad advice, poor assumptions, and an outdated social script for proper male behavior. And I think you’re going to like him. Are you surprised?
A moron catcalling woman on the street while wearing an “I Only Date Models” t-shirt is easy to identify and cancel. Your down on his luck buddy who always means well, and just doesn’t know what to say to that one special girl is a little harder to check and correct. Because toxic males can be many things, but very rarely are they friendless.
The pals Del has at the beginning of this story, and those he makes along the way, may not know all the answers (there are some pretty weird questions posed in these pages), but they are willing to muddle through the noxious soup of misinformation, gender expectations, religious dogma, and general growing pains. As you take this journey with them, I hope you see your curiosity of the unknown is a good and natural thing. If you’re a little older, I hope you find a bit more understanding for the confused young people in your world. No matter who you are, if you see bad, gross, toxic behavior from a friend or foe, I hope you find the strength to counter instead of encouraging it. Nothing changes unless we all do our part. Some of us (men!) have more work to do than others. So let’s start. Sooner begun, sooner done.
In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to Del, Kiera, Jameer, Qwan, Shianne, Mya, Angie and the rest of the First Missionary House of the Lord Purity Pledgers. I’ve grown to love them dearly—despite their flaws. I hope you will, too.
About the Book:
Two-time Edgar Award Finalist Lamar Giles delivers his first contemporary YA—an eye-opening novel that spotlights societal pressures, confronts toxic masculinity, and begs the question: what does it mean to be a “real man”?
Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since forever, and now she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. His best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to miss his shot. Again. That’s where Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word, and with other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move ASAP. With all this plotting and scheming, Del never really stops to think what does Kiera want? No matter, though—once he gets the girl, he’s sure it will all sort itself out. Right?
Praise for Not So Pure and Simple
“Realistic…hilarious. I couldn’t put it down.” - Nic Stone, New York Times Bestselling Author of DEAR MARTIN
"..Vibrant and authentic…” - Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, author of 8th GRADE SUPER ZERO
"Heartfelt and hilarious on every page! Giles is not only adept at storytelling, he understands what makes us human." - Justin A. Reynolds, author of OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS
“Holy hell! This was perfect timely read! I laughed, I gasped, I church grunted through every chapter. Giles is a master at writing realistic characters that are both flawed and relatable." - Tiffany D. Jackson, author of MONDAY’S NOT COMING and LET ME HEAR A RHYME
“…a funny, heartfelt, and wildly charming read!” - Jay Coles, author of TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE
“…smart, funny, and lit.” - Tracey Baptiste, author of THE JUMBIES
“..Giles takes an honest look into masculinity and flips the ol’ premise of “boy gets girl.”" - Lilliam Rivera, author of DEALING IN DREAMS and THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ