The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Published by: Wednesday Books on October 8th, 2019
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Survival
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
Review: It’s been a while since I read a YA dystopian novel and this one did not disappoint in satisfying that craving. While I found that most parts in the novel were predictable there were definitely times that had me taking a moment to stop and think “What the hell is happening?”
As a YA novel, the insta-love romance trope makes an appearance. Unfortunately, based on how the two characters interacted with one another I don’t think it worked or was really necessary.
The writing and the pacing of this book was great. I ended up staying up way too late on a weeknight to finish this because I couldn’t go to sleep without finding out how it ended. Speaking of the ending, it felt a bit rushed and convenient to me. I would’ve liked for it be drawn out a bit more and have slightly more conflict.
I would love a prequel novella explaining how Garner County came to have these societal practices. We know that the Grace Year has happened at least 47 times and woman named Eve might be the cause but it’s never really explained.
I can definitely see why it’s been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games. And this is definitely a great read for fall!