Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (ARC)

The Grace Year

Author: Kim Liggett

Publication Date: 08 October 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy/Dystopian

Pages: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

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

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.

This book was one of my most anticipated reads for the year, and I was willing to sell one of my limbs just to read an advanced copy. In case y’all were wondering, my limbs are in tact, and I didn’t have to do anything questionable to get a hold of this coveted beauty. That being said, it’s been a few days since I finished reading this one, and I am still at a loss for unbelievable this book was. This book is horrifying, raw, twisted…and yet, it’s also beautiful and hopeful.

In Garner County, females possess magic that brings out the most animalistic urges in men. In order to circumvent this, at the age of sixteen, the girls are banished to the wilderness to rid their bodies of this magic, so they can blossom into the subservient, well-mannered women that are expected in society.

This year of survival in the wilderness is deemed the grace year. No one ever speaks of the grace year and what transpires during that time, but there are whispers. The dangers of the grace year are real. Not all of the girls will survive the wilderness, the poachers at the outskirts of camp ready to sell pieces of their bodies, or each other.

The Grace Year is an all consuming, atmospheric read. Liggett’s writing evoked so many emotions while I was tearing through the pages. My heart literally ached because the despair from the girls was palpable. I also loved that this book didn’t shy away from the dark side of female relationships. These girls are willing to commit unspeakable acts when their own survival is at stake.

I don’t want to give any more of the plot away because this is one of those books that you need to experience the spectrum of emotions that will come while reading it. This book is incredible, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the ARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

Have you read The Grace Year? Is it on your TBR? Let’s discuss!

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