Sometimes you read a book so good, that you just want every body to also read it! I have had that with Run Away, by Harlan Coben. Another book I want the world to read is The Neighbour, by Fiona Cummins. Today I add another book to that list….the list of MUST READS (blog post coming soon), titled The Grace Year. I don’t even think I really knew what this book was about, but I thought the synopsis sounded interesting enough….maybe I’d read it over December? I picked it up on Friday night, inhaled it, and was done by Saturday. Before I give the whole review away in the introduction, there are steps to follow, so let’s move along……
What is The Grace Year about?
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.
Tierney is our protagonist who is about to embark on The Grace Year. She is a young lady with dreams, ideas and she yearns for a better life. One that does not conform with the ideals of the County in which she lives. There is Michael, her best friend who seems like a pretty upstanding guy, and it’s very obvious that he is in love with Tierney, but she is oblivious to that fact. The majority of the book is spent in the secluded environment where The Grace Year takes place, and there we meet many Grace Year girls with differing personalities. Some who we may or may not wish death (or a poacher) upon….Yes Kiersten, I’m talking about you……
The writing and storyline
I don’t even know how to describe the immersive nature of the writing and how breathtakingly beautiful some moments are. To read and feel such emotion, to be able to picture so clearly, as if watching a movie….is the mark of a really talented writer. That aside, The Handmaid’s Tale is such a unique story, so to be able to do something similar, but so different at the same time, again is a skill. Storyline….obsessed! It’s interesting to read in the acknowledgments at the end of the book, how the idea for the book actually originated with the writer!
The girls are literally banished for a year and we find it becomes very ‘Lord of the Flies’-esque. The girls are going mad, they’re turning on each other, and added to that, they are also being hunted, by poachers. It adds this really suspenseful element to this dystopian thriller. There are hard moments, scary moments, frustrating moments, beautiful moments. I can’t say much more, but I can say….please add this book to your list of books to read!!!
Fun fact, I read this book without reading the quotes in the front. When I finished it, I said to my husband: Oh my word, this is Handmaid’s Tale meets Lord of the Flies!! I then for some reason went back to the beginning and saw the quotes at the very beginning of the book are from……*drum roll*… The Handmaid’s Tale and Lord of the Flies. So much for feeling like I had a unique spin on describing the book! LOL
Is there going to be any surprise here? FIVE THOUSAND STARS! I loved this book so much! It wrecked me in moments and it had me crying tears of joy too. The Grace Year has a Goodreads rating of 4.19 stars…whoever rated it less than 5 needs their head read! #JustKidding We all love different books for different reasons!
The Grace Year retails for around R290 (currently R215 on Takealot.com) and is available at all leading book retailers.
Spoiler chat ahead
This is going to be a new section with my book reviews. If you’re just curious as to if you want to read the book, you have all the information you need. This section is just to add a few notes that may potentially spoil the book for you! STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS!!
This is more a discussion point I think than anything else; did Kim, in the end imprison Tierney into the exact life that she did not want to be living? Everything she dreaded…..was her reality in the end. If you’ve read it, and have an opinion on this, let’s chat!
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House SA for an honest review.