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Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

I’d been seeing this all over social media and was dying to finally get round to reading it. I am not sure it completely lived up to the hype in my mind though. Thoughts below.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult (YA)

Rating: 3.5/5

Overall: I practically read this book in one sitting! I loved the concept – a mix between Hunger Games and The Handmaids Tale – which sees young girls banished from the town into the wild for their 16th year (their Grace Year) in order to rid themselves of their dangerous “magic”. The old tales say, their magic has the ability to seduce men etc. The book centres around main character, Tierney James, who is like no other girl around. She’s smart, fierce, knows how to hunt and do all the ‘men’s stuff’. I loved her character! Liggett did a fantastic job at character development throughout.   

I was wowed by the beginning and ending – the writing was atmospheric and really made me feel like I was there. I felt the middle section was a bit slow, but there were some plot twists I wasn’t expecting and it really picked the pace up. I really enjoyed Liggett’s writing style and felt the raw emotion intended, some of it was gory to read I was literally closing my eyes and flinching! If you enjoy a wild feminist story, then you’ll want to read this.

I want to believe we can be different, but when I look around the church, at the women comparing the length of their braids, reveling in another woman’s punishment, scheming and clawing for every inch of position, I can’t help thinking the men might be right. Maybe we’re incapable of more. Maybe without the confines placed upon us, we’d rip each other to shreds, like a pack of outskirt dogs.

Plot:

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.

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