Rating: 4 / 5
I have been part of the team hosting a buddy read for THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett over the second half of February. I have been wanting to pick this book up since its release and this finally gave me the perfect excuse!
In THE GRACE YEAR girls are raised with the knowledge that they have a dangerous magic inside of them, something that messes with mens’ minds and can drive women insane. In order to protect their civilization and the women themselves, they are banished for their sixteenth year, a period known as the grace year. Each year a group of girls goes out and and the prior year’s girls come back or at least the ones that survived. No one speaks of what happens during the grace year. Even those who survived it can’t give any indication of what to expect to those destined to go.
Tierney James is about to leave for her grace year and as one might imagine she is curious and concerned. Tierney has never fit in, always valuing her independence a bit too much for the world she lives in. Her hope is to survive the grace year and return home to a life of labor in the fields. To survive she will need to face multiple dangers, from poachers in the woods who seek to take them for profit, the other girls banished with her and the inherent danger of the world itself.
I really enjoyed this one and it was such a perfect book for a group read! After multiple people on our group talked about how hard it was to put down, I purposefully didn’t even start until the night before our midway checkpoint and I flew through the first half of the book! I was so intrigued by the world that the author described and what exactly was going on with the grace year! After our chat I finished the book in one sitting.
This book is not for the squeamish, the girls face terrible circumstances and injuries which are well described. I think this worked well in this case to really drive home all that they are up against. I think the highlight of the book was the portions that took part between the grace year girls as they formed and reformed their relationships and power dynamics. I don’t want to say too much because the details are best discovered in the reading. After all… No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
I think I would have loved more of the history of how the Grace Year came about to flesh things out a bit more and perhaps a bit more information about the larger world outside of this community, but overall I really liked how the world of the story was developed. There was a lot for the group to discuss and theorize about!
I really enjoyed this one and the buddy read was fantastic. Thank you to everyone who participated!!