The Grace Year by Kim Liggett — ARC Review

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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!


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: 5 Stars

The Grace Year is a book I have been excited for ever since I first heard about it all the way back in February. I am always nervous when I start aa book like this that is receiving a lot of hype and I had hihg expectations for, but The Grace Year actually lived up to my expectations. The idea of girls getting magic at 16 years old and being sent into the woods for a year to release it so they come back to society pure was absolutely fascinating to me. But what made this book so good was the chaos between the girls.

I absolutely love books where the main theme is survival and The Grace Year is one of my favorite books that I’ve read with that theme. As the girls tried to survive out in the woods they turned on one another and the chaos felt so real. A group of girls turning on one another can start of as vicious bullying, but the grace year girls took it to a whole other level. Tierney tried to stay true to her values and protect her friends even when circumstances were so dire that all that most people would care about is merely surviving. She was a brave character who felt so relatable and so real.

The Grace Year was so compelling from the very beginning. It was absolutely chilling and full of the horrors that people inflict upon one another. Tierney somehow held onto little pieces of hope even through the absolute worst times. She was such a powerful character to have at the center of this story. The writing flowed well and the plot kept me enthralled throughout the entire book. Each of the characters were written so well, even the ones that I loved to hate.

The Grace Year reminded me of The Crucible and The Handmaid’s Tale because in all three books fear caught quickly and women were treated like property. This is a feminist book, but rather than making large leaps that felt impossible to achieve the women made small steps towards fighting inequality. This book was disturbing, but also felt authentic, especially the parts where the grace year girls would turn against one another. The Grace Year was an incredibly thought provoking novel that was symbolic, well written and packed a powerful punch. This book should be on everyone’s wish list.

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