No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. – Goodreads
Title: The Grace Year
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA, Dystopia
In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.
Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.
The Grace Year was a very enticing read full of emotions, fear, survival, and unexpected love and friendship.
Tierney, the main character, is a strong and independent girl. She knows how to take care of herself and she thinks differently than most girls; always looking for answers and struggling to be quiet and unseen. This part of her personality comes in handy when she is sent away with the other Grace Girls to “rid their magic” and come back “purified women.”
I enjoyed the idea of this story. It took something very real in everyday life and twisted it into a dystopian type of adventure. Society tends to view women as objects, as things to please men, and in some places in the world, as property. This is very much the message in the book and it goes a step further to say women are dangerous and full of magic that make men do things they shouldn’t. Again, playing on a societal idea that women should be a certain way so men aren’t tempted by them. I loved this aspect of the story! At some points it made me feel so angry that the women are treated that way!
I found the relationship Tierney had with her family was interesting. I initially had weird vibes from her father (especially when it came to the topic of the Grace Girls) and also her mother felt off to me. However, as the story grew, so did her family. Their behaviours made more sense and in the end, it really tied the story together and brought deepness to the reality of Tierney’s life in the County moving forward.
The survival aspect of the book was very well done in my opinion! It went into just the right amount of detail to keep me interested but also left out some things to let the imagination flow! I enjoyed how well Tierney performed under the pressure of the Grace Year and how she seems to beat the odds! I would compare Tierney to Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games. I really appreciate how the author wrote Tierney’s character. I love a good female character!
Plot wise – I was impressed with the intricacy of it. So many pieces were brought in that at the time didn’t seem that important and then it was all brought back together for a collective theme. It flowed nicely. The speed of the story was great! It was just the right length in my opinion! I ripped through it as well because of how exciting it was!
Overall, this was a great book! I will give you a warning though – your heart will BREAK during the ending! I actually had to put the book down at one point because I was like “ugh why is this happening?!?!” Also, there is something very beautiful and hopeful about the ending. I put the book down with a slight smile on my face. I didn’t quite get the ending I was so desperately hoping for, but I got something different that was both fitting and bittersweet.
Have you read this one? Let me know what you thought!!