The Grace Year / Kim Liggett

Hello my friends. Sorry for the longish break – I got bit by the winter blues BIG time. I swear it happens every January/February where I become miserable and just refuse to do anything besides be a bum. Suggestions anyone? I think I need to invest in one of those sun lamps, or make sure I escape to a sunny place next year.

Needless to say, I have about 8,000 books to review and a sky high pile of books to be read but with spring around the corner, I’m shaking off the icicles and feeling good about getting back to my routines and not being such a curmudgeon.

I figured I would start with my favorite book that closed out 2019. The Grace Year was bananas (b-a-n-a-n-a-s). I started it on a cold December morning and then ignored my family and all responsibilities and read the entire book in one day, refusing to get up from the couch until I knew how this all ended.

Synopsis: In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds and 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.

This book is made for those of us who have been salivating for a little more Katniss in their lives. Its as if the Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, The Crucible and Handmaid’s Tale had a baby. A very disturbed baby.

This book touched on a lot of things. The creepy, women are property type of sexism, which in this book has chilling consequences. There are also elements of blaming a woman for a man’s sexual aggression, chalking up their bad behavior to a woman’s evil magic.

To me, the more pronounced theme was revolving around the societal power structure in place that pits women against women. How, as a gender, we get so lost in tearing one another down, that we never get ahead. That really resonated with me.

“Sometimes I feel like we might burn down the world to cindery bits, with our love, our rage, and everything in between.”

Kim Liggett, The Grace Year

I saw some grumblings on the internets of how this was far from a feminist piece because Tierney at times is saved by men. In my experience reading along this dystopian terror, I never was put off by this. Just as our historical battle for women’s rights, you have allies along the way, right? That is how I interpreted it. And it was actually a relief to not write off the entire male gender in this book as a disgusting monster. It was nice to know there were a few good men fighting for the right cause. Tierney throughout the entire story arc was a bad ass and no one can tell me otherwise.

I would suggest this book if you like the following:

  • Dystopian settings
  • Fierce female protagonists
  • Smashing the patriarchy
  • Tales of survival

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – I loved everything about this story. It was a fast-paced thriller that had me on the edge of my seat for a majority of the book. At times it was gory and cruel and other times it was tender and sad. It also had a bit of a steam factor. And what is crazy, for how far fetched the premise of this book is, there were extremely relevant and relatable parallels to what is happening in society today. This one will get you thinking. AND, I would absolutely read the acknowledgements at the end of the book, as Kim Liggett recounts her source of inspiration for this story which left me in tears. Read this book!!!!!