No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, 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 their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their 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.
The Grace Year is a highly symbolic novel with dark, disturbing, action-packed, and engaging story! This book is definitely one of my best read this year!
The Grace Year started with a dream, which intrigues me immediately. The author provides detailed information, and it helps me in visualizing the story. I felt like I’m watching the characters from their side, but I’m only invisible to them. How the story will go to is unpredictable. I might get some bits of ideas, but it would still surprise me. And the anticipation I get just to know what will happen next is always killing me. As the mysteries around starts to unveil, the small pieces that I get from the beginning start to connect.
The Grace Year also reminded me of The Hunger Games. I saw Tierney struggles to survive this grace year, the same with Katniss trying to stay alive in the hunger games. The only difference is that this is about women and how long they can stay alive. How they will spend their grace year in an encampment and how they will last without being killed by the poachers that lurk near them.
The story also covers some issues that we know still exist until now – the inequalities the women are receiving in society. It has been resolved already by giving us the same rights as men, but we can’t deny that some of us still feel otherwise. This novel also reminds me of the lessons I had in Sociology & Anthropology this last semester about how the women fight for their rights and how it all started.
The story also shows how a person changed in a given situation. Will they still be the same? Will they change? If they will change, is it for the better or for worse? What will they do if envy and fear eat them up?
The characters have distinct traits that set them apart from one another. I like Tierney’s toughness because she handles every situation well, even though some scenes somehow makes her weak. And, I think that is normal as sometimes, in our life, we will come to the point of almost giving up, but we will still fight and walk forward. Even though there was not enough exposure for the other characters, I was still able to know them because of how they were described and talked to by the other characters.
The story ended wonderfully. This novel brought me different emotions that I won’t forget. It pains me and hates to see how they got in those situations. They don’t deserve those but what could they do, that’s how everything works in their county. But, I’m glad that it is slowly changing and this year’s graces made a great impact on it. I still want more, though, to know what that little girl in Tierney’s dream will do, but I am already satisfied with the ending.
This novel is quick-paced, and the readers will immediately get immersed in the story. I am recommending this book the most to my fellow women out there! Please note that this book has disturbing and brutal scenes.
Disclaimer: I got the advance reading copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Genre(s): Young Adult
Kim Liggett, originally from the rural midwest, moved to New York City to pursue a career in the arts. She’s the author of Blood and Salt, Heart of Ash, The Last Harvest (Bram Stoker Award Winner), The Unfortunates, and The Grace Year. Kim spends her free time studying tarot and scouring Manhattan for rare vials of perfume and the perfect egg white cocktail.