Updated: Mar 30, 2020
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett is a dark dystopian young adult novel that gave me major Handmaid's Tale, Hunger Games, and Lord of the Flies vibes. The synopsis drew me in, but I did not expect to like this book so much. I flew threw it in two sittings and I am reeling now that it is over. Kim Liggett, sequel please??
The Grace Year is set in a county where the girls are sent away for a year, once they turn 16 years old. It is believed that girls at that age come into their "magic" and need to be cast out of the county to rid them of it in order to return purified and ready for marriage. Before they are cast out, a veiling ceremony takes place where the young men of the town put a veil on the girl they choose to marry. All of the power is put in their hands and the girls are expected to marry who chooses them and if they are not chosen they are put to work or cast out beyond the fence, where prostitution awaits their fate. No one is allowed to speak of the grace year and young Tierney does not know what to expect. The girls who return from their grace year look like they have been through hell and are completely broken, and those are the lucky ones. Many are killed by poachers outside of the fence that skin them for their magic powers, bottle them up, and sell them.
Tierney is a strong willed 16 year old who has no plans to marry anyone. She is shocked beyond belief from what happens on her veiling day and begins her grace year as a cast out from the other girls. Tierney is strong, determined, intelligent, and marches to the beat of her own drum. All of these qualities are what help her during her grace year journey.
This book was incredible. The character development was spot on and the book was well written. It is not a typical YA book and I thought the writing felt more mature. I am honestly surprised it is in the YA category. Liggett's writing is atmospheric and haunting. The way she described things as simple as medicinal herbs was incredible and I could almost visual Tierney's entire journey. The ending sets it up well for a sequel and I hope that is Liggett's intention, because Tierney's story should not end anytime soon.
I highly recommend this book if you were a fan of other dystopians, such as The Handmaid's Tale, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Lord of the Flies. The difference between this book and the others, apart from The Handmaid's Tale, is the incredible strength portrayed by the female characters. Reading the ending of The Grace Year made me want to yell out "You go, girl! Girl power!" It is dark, intense, horrific at times, but also beautiful, timely, and deep. I gave The Grace Year by Kim Liggett a ★★★★★ review and adding it to my list of favorite books of 2019.