Fierce and Frightening Feminist Dystopian || ARC Review: The Grace Year

It has been a while since I’ve read a dystopian this good. After the Hunger Games craze died down, I wasn’t sure I’d be interested in a dystopian again. But here we are. If dystopians continue to be this good, I will be hungry for them.

Title: The Grace Year
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Genres: YA Dystopian

I was given an ARC by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Official Synopsis

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.

Review

This book is phenomenal. It carries such a strong message with strong, complex situations and characters. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it because I was scared/worried about the direction it would take, but it turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read this year. 

This book is not exactly fast paced, but it is ramped up with so much tension that I was seriously scared for our MC, Tierney, constantly. There are just a ton of I-don’t-knows and mysteries. The ending was perfect—beautiful, touching, and resonant. 

The characters are so brilliantly crafted. Tierney is a great protagonist who can take care of herself, asks questions, and can generally keep her head. Unlike the other girls in this book. The madness that makes up this story is so terrifying. I’m not a fan of girl-on-girl hate, but this author had a point to prove, and the complexity of all of the characters drove those points in without feeling preachy or didactic. My only complaint is the love interest being a little bland, but at least everyone else was fully fleshed out. 

This world the author brings us into is so fascinating. This is labeled a dystopian, but honestly it feels more like a historical or modern day cult. It just felt so real and chilling. A part of my mind was like, this would never happen—but the reasoning in this patriarchal society is so terrifying that it honestly could be. 

There are endless twists and turns, so many questions, so much to love. Such a beautiful, powerful story.

Have you read any good dystopians lately?

4 thoughts on “Fierce and Frightening Feminist Dystopian || ARC Review: The Grace Year

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