The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

⇒Featuring feminism, rebellion and survival

The Grace Year was an absolutely breathtaking novel that explored a patriarchal society where girls are blamed for being men’s lust and accused of having “magic” in order to be controlled.

I couldn’t put this stunning, important book down and I’m not sure where to start with praising it.

The Grace Year is probably the best dystopian book I’ve ever read. Tierney’s society is ugly and patriarchal and I swear I was angry every time a man spoke in this book…except from a certain one, of course.

It mixes the brutality and isolation of Lord of the Flies with the rebellion of The Hunger Games and the feminism of The Handmaid’s Tail in a cocktail unlike any other before.

Garner County was oppressive and claustrophobic, something very off about every word that described it. Kim really knows how to set an atmosphere because I felt chilled and ill at ease for most of the beginning of the book.

This book is dark, it’s gory, it’s brutal, it’s real. The Grace Year has the girls mad with magic, turning on each other and themselves. Throughout the first half of Tierney’s Grace Year, we can feel her unwinding, losing herself. The way she narrates makes us feel uneasy and worried, sad and anguished along with her, all with the sense of a fog hanging over the descriptions, barring us from seeing something.

Though this book was dystopian, it was filled with aspects of horror. The description is brutal, the murders so chilling and gory I could barely read them, yet I enjoyed them none the less.

“The things we do to girls. Whether we put them on pedestals only to tear them down, or use them for parts and holes, we’re all complicit in this. But everything touches everything else and I have to believe that some good will come out of all this destruction. The men will never end the grace year. But maybe we can.”

The way the women were forced to turn against each other in this book and how their relationships with each other were described was heartbreaking and powerful. Tierney’s society seeks to tear them apart, and they seem determined to do so during the Grace Year. The relationship between mothers and daughters, sisters, friends and lovers was complicated, sought to be destroyed by the men who were scared of what they might do if they got to talking, questioned their roles in society.

So, no, I didn’t really like the love story. I was hoping if there was going to be love, it would be between Tierney and one of the other girls, but no *sniffs*. I didn’t hate the love story, but it all felt a bit..forced. For me it felt squished in there to please readers, taking away from the storyline. I do understand Tierney’s need to love someone she wasn’t forced to, though, and I did think it was empowering to see her in control of her own body.

Overall, this book is poignant, powerful and a must-read. It’s wild and brutal and breathtaking, heart wrenching and important. I would absolutely recommend this book.

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