Author: Kim Liggett
To Be Published:
US: October 8, 2019
UK: October 10, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 16-24, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Survive the year.
No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
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.
With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.
Like with Fight Club, I am going to break the rule: You do not speak of the grace year…. Well I won’t be giving specifics on the grace year…. To find out everything, you must read this book!
In this dystopian world we can say goodbye to “Sweet Sixteen” and hello to “The Grace Year”. When all girls turn sixteen, they are sent away to fend for themselves for a year….Wait! I mean the girls are sequestered together to cleanse themselves of the magic they possess that will drive men crazy with lust and women crazy in anger and jealousy. Once the girls are cleansed they are then ready to become wives, if they have been previously chosen. This is also if they survive their grace year, which not everyone does.
Our protagonist is Tierney and it is time for her grace year to begin. We go on her journey of preparing for her grace year. She knows what she wants her future to hold and knows it will be that way despite the grace year; but will it be as she wants? Tierney is a tomboy in a world where women are the ‘weaker’ gender, so she isn’t your typical female. I liked Tierney and was rooting for her to pull through and survive her grace year despite the odds against her.
The Grace Year is a mix of The Handmaid’s Tale and Lord of the Flies with a dash of The Hunger Games. This is a world that today’s woman would not want to live in. It is a dark, disturbing, and violent novel that also pulls you in and you don’t want stop reading. While reading it you will feel a variety of emotions and it also leaves you thinking about so many things. Then we have that ending which leaves you open mouthed and hoping that Liggett writes a sequel. Movie rights have been optioned and I hope they treat the novel right.
I would suggest this novel for ages 15 and up given the violence that occurs.
Many thanks to the publisher for granting me an arc copy via Netgalley. It was an honor to read and review The Grace Year.