ARC Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Title: The Grace Year 
Author: Kim Liggett
Genre: Dystopia 
Source: St. Martins Press via NetGalley 
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 17th 2019

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, 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 their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their 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.

I am a huge fan of The Handmaid's Tale from when I had to read it for me English Lit class in college. I am a huge fan of dystopian novels and The Handmaid's Tales was right up my alley. The moment I learned about The Grace Year and that it was pitched for fans of The Handmaid's Tale, I knew it was going to be a must read for me. I've read Kim's previous novels and loved them so I knew this one was going to be for me. I want to say that loved The Grace Year, but I sadly didn't. The Grace Year wasn't a horrible book, it has The Handmaid Tales vibes and a strong feminist message that I did enjoy, but other then that there really wasn't much more that I loved.

My English professor once said that if a novel doesn't make you angry for the injustices it serves, then it didn't accomplish what it was written to do. The Grace Year made me angry for the injustices that woman face. Not even just in this novel but in real life. Tierney's story is of a girl who dreams of a better life where society isn't the way it is. That woman have their freedom and they aren't just used to produce children and serve their husbands. She dreams of a world where woman aren't stripped of their rights and aren't pitted against each other in the wilderness for a year when they turn 16. 

I did enjoy the mystery surrounding The Grace Year until the girls go on their Grace Year. I wasn't sure what to expect because the biggest rule in The Grace Year is that, no one can talk about it. So, Tierney isn't sure what to expect. The girls chosen to be married and sent on their Grace Year are sent away to loose their "magic" and powers that are used to seduce men and cloud their judgment.  

The ending of The Grace Year left the book a little open ended in my opinion. I came to two different interpretations for how The Grace Year ended. I'm curious to see how other reads are going to take to the ending the and twists that happen in that last half of the novel. Overall, there were bits of The Grace Year that enjoyed and others that I didn't. I think this book wasn't my cup of tea because I as expecting something different. But I can see the appeal and how other readers are going to love this one. 

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