The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Oooh I can always depend on Wednesday Books to release heart-pounding mature YA thrillers tackling intense subjects!
The Grace Year can easily be compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, Lord of the Flies, The Power, and Hunger Games but this is a solid novel that holds its own!
In Garner County, females are believed to have magic, especially girls on the edge of womanhood. Each year the County banishes the sixteen year olds to a remote gated location to dispel their magic so they may return pure, obedient, and fit for marriage. But not every girl returns home.
Those who return do not speak of the grace year because it’s forbidden.
Sixteen-year-old Tierney James has no desire to be a wife. She understands that she will become property and all she wants is to be free of the strange superstitions and burdens the women must bear for their human nature. Her father has taught her many skills that are usually only taught to sons in hopes she will survive her grace year.
The grace year girls must survive the harsh elements, the poachers (men waiting in the woods in hopes of grabbing a girl for horrific purposes), and each other.
“Look around. We are the only Gods here.” *
Alone for the first time in their lives, some of the girls are more willing to embrace the magic they’ve been told that they have and shun others. A twisted society forms within the gates and readers examine the relationships and motivations of the girls while realizing there’s much more wrong than we were initially told.
“But isn’t that how every horrible thing begins? Slow. Insipid. A twisting of the screw.” *
Atmospheric and chilling, The Grace Year is a dystopian novel that explores the power women have and how it’s abused in male-dominated societies, how religion is used to keep people in line, and how women are systematically divided against one another.
“We hurt each other because it’s the only way we’re permitted to show our anger. When our choices are taken from us, the fire builds within. Sometimes I feel like we might burn down the world to cindery bits, with our love, our rage, and everything in between.” *
Overall, this is a top-notch YA dystopian/horror novel that focuses on female empowerment. There’s some romance but thankfully it doesn’t overshadow the strong plot. I loved some of the unexpected twists that Liggett threw in to make this even more of a page turner. And the ending. Oh my. Such an amazing ending!
“My eyes are wide open, and I see everything now.” *
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy YA, horror, dystopia, and speculative fiction/thrillers.
Thanks to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Grace Year is scheduled for release on October 8, 2019.
*Quotes included are from a digital advanced reader’s copy and are subject to change upon final publication.