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.
The Grace Year is a title that I have been impatiently waiting to get my hands on. From the synopsis alone, I just knew this book was going to be special and that it would be thrilling. I mean, it sounded like all of my favorite dystoptian novels were wrapped into one. So, if you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale or even Lord of the Flies, you are in for a real treat with The Grace Year.
The Grace Year follows the story of Tierney James. Tierney has always dreamed for a better life than the one she knows. She lives in a society where dreams are forbidden and where women are seen as the weaker sex. When a girl reaches her sixteenth birthday, she enters what is called her grace year, a time that no one dares to talk about. Rumor has it that women are filled with magical power that they must accept and eradicate in order to return home pure and ready for their husbands. But, what they don’t tell you is that you will be pitted against one another, that your friends are not who you thought they were, and that there is more to fear than just poachers in the woods….
As a huge fan of YA Dystopian novels, I couldn’t wait to see what The Grace Year would bring to the table. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint. This story is filled with mystery and intrigue. The plot is totally unique, yet has similar elements to some beloved dystopian novels. This story is gritty and intense at times and it will certainly keep you on your toes. This is a story of survival in the worst of circumstances, yet there is also hope for a better life and future. The Grace Year does have some romantic tones, but the romance does not drive the book, the plot does. The Grace Year is filled with lots of fantastic twists and turns and at times will have you questioning what you have gotten yourself into.
Overall, I found The Grace Year to be a very enjoyable read. I thought it was very unique and written well. I found myself glued to the pages and unable to put this book down. I know this is a YA book, but do not let that fool you. This book packs a punch and keeps you guessing the entire time. If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, I definitely would recommend giving The Grace Year a try.
*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*