Monday, August 28, 2023

REVIEW: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett



The Grace Year is a quick read that builds on the dystopian novels that have come before. What I mean by that is that there seems to be a nod to female driven narratives that pit women against the oppressive societies that rule them, a nod that acknowledges that you know where we're coming from so let's just dive right into the action without a lot of the backstory of how they got there. In The Grace Year, that's not the point. I think the point is that Tierney and the other girls are in it now, so now what?!

In this novel, young women are sent away for a year to dispose of their 'magic' and when they return they'll return to assigned roles, like in a caste system. Some will marry and some will be laborers and some will be sex workers or outcasts. Tierney, our main character, assumes that she'll be a laborer because she's purposely led a life that would make that so. Her assumption is wrong and she starts her journey to their 'grace year' property in a state of shock and determination. Once all of the grace year girls arrive at their grace year destination, the immediate devolution of civility begins. There's peer pressure, bullying, and mob mentality at work ...among other things. Tierney tries to set up a society that would be equitable and helpful and within days, it's all destroyed. Within weeks she's an outcast and not long after that, she finds herself on death's doorstep. It's only when someone who should be her enemy nurses her back to health that she begins to really understand all of the elements working against the grace year girls, and begins to try to work against them to make things right, better for them all. Ultimately, when Tierney makes it back to her original home and has some time to reflect on it all, she gains some clarity and leaves us with a sense of hope for better days.

While I really enjoyed The Grace Year--it's definitely a 4.5-5 star read for me--I did want a little more backstory and information about how in the world they got to this point to begin with, where are they, and when is this all taking place. Other than those things, The Grace Year held my attention, was a quick read, and offered insights about being a woman in the world, insights that I wish we didn't have to learn because we lived in a truly equal and free society. 



The instant New York Times bestseller, Kim Liggett's The Grace Year is a speculative YA thriller in the vein of The Hunger Games and The Power, now in trade paperback.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are 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.

Tierney James dreams of a better life―but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that there’s more to fear about the grace year than the brutal elements and the poachers in the woods.

Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, Liggett's 
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.

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