The Grace Year, by Kim Liggett

23 Sep
grace year kim liggett

FIVE of 5 stars

As soon as I heard this was a combo of The Handmaid’s TaleLord of the Flies and The Hunger Games, I was in. Those three books do sum up the plot pretty well, and though it’s not quite as great as any of those books, that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

I raced through this book in about 48 hours. It did move from great to so-so a few times, but then would veer back to good and then great again. Along the way I had some issues with parts of it (we have stereotypical mean girls and girls fighting over boys) but I was pleasantly surprised when there were then some explanations and commentary on those issues, so they are not really presented as acceptable norms. It’s not perfectly excused, but it helped my discomfort.

I’ve seen some complaints about the requisite romance in this YA book, but I think it fits here. Tierney is a 16 year old girl who is not only fighting for her life, but possibly even suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. This is not explicitly stated in the book, but there are a enough subtleties in the book throughout that I think it could be argued.

In the end, my favorite thing is that the story and all the problems in the County are not wrapped up tidily. Instead of unrealistically solving all the issues immediately, we see instead that seeds of change have been planted. As we saw with June’s Garden, those seeds can end up saving lives.

This is a YA book that can be thoroughly enjoyed by adults (I’m practically an old lady and I loved it). If you like The Handmaid’s Tale or Hunger Games, or would like to read a female centered Lord(ess) of the Flies, then I say definitely give this a try. And buy a copy for the teen girl in your life, so she can wonder about her magic, whether it’s real, and how she might use it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for lending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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