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!
*This review first appeared on Mom with a Reading Problem. To see it and other reviews, visit https://www.momwithareadingproblem.com