I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Published by Wednesday Books on 2019-10-08
Length: 416 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2019, 2019 New Release Challenge
A speculative thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power. Optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks to be a major motion picture!
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.
It’s been one week since I finished The Grace Year by Kim Liggett as I sit down to start this review. Y’all I still don’t know what to say! If you’d asked me if I liked the book while I was reading it, the answer would be no. But then something happened. The closer I got to the end, the more enthralled and horrified I was, the more I became invested in the characters, their plight, and what would eventually happen to them. If you ask me now if I liked the book, my answer would still be no because I didn’t just like it, I loved it!
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett is the most unique story I’ve ever read. I have nothing to compare it to. The blurb refers to The Handmaid’s Tale as do other reviewers. I haven’t read nor watched the series so I can’t make that comparison. What I can say is that this book stands on its own. It isn’t quite fantasy, more a historical dystopian and thriller. Basically take a dash of The Hunger Games and mix it with M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village and you get a taste of what The Grace Year is about.
Every year when the girls of Garner County reach the age of sixteen, they are banished from the community and confined in a small area of wilderness. Why? They are told that when they reach this age they hold magic. Magic to make men lust and women jealous, dangerous and tempting. They are to spend the year releasing their magic into the wild and return to the county purified and ready to take their place as wives in the county. Not all return from their grace year, some die, some go mad. Are you creeped out yet? Because I was!
The book follows one of the grace year girls, Tierney James. Unlike the other girls in the community, Tierney has a free spirit and dreams of a better life for herself. She doesn’t want to receive a veil, which will mark her as a wife when she returns. She wants the freedom to work in the fields and still look at the stars every night. I like Tierney. Her wit and her courage take her far in this story.
But it isn’t just Tierney that makes the book. It’s the other grace year girls. Each brings a unique look at the world. No one knows what to expect entering the grace year. It’s forbidden to talk about, but once they are there they share what little they do know from older siblings and parents. Poachers wait outside the walls, ready to take the girls and bleed them for the magic they possess. It’s horrific and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.
Overall I really loved The Grace Year. I was shocked and horrified, tears were shed, and I did laugh at times. If you enjoy an edge of your seat read, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Grace Year. It will not disappoint!