I’m not sure what irked me more in the world The Grace Year, the fact that women were not allowed to socialize with one another, or that women were not allowed to dream. Set in a dystopian reality, the Grace Year follows sixteen-year old Tierney James, as she enters into her “grace year”, where she and the other sixteen year olds are sent away into the woods to rid themselves of their “magic”. Facing the perils of poachers, wildlife, and most of all each other, the girls must find a way to survive and return home.
I devoured this book. On multiple occasions I stayed up much later than I should have, glued to the page, ravenous for more. The book is set up in 5 sections, a prologue, and the four seasons. It was difficult to find a stopping point, because there were not traditional chapters, and the plot just continued propelling me forward.
I loved Tierney’s character. She knows the society she lives in is not the life she wants for herself, yet she’s acutely aware of the consequences to others, especially her sisters, if she steps out of line. She tries her best to keep her wits about her while in the encampment (the area the girls are sent during their grace year), even as the other girls lose their minds and turn against her.
I’ve heard this book referred to multiple times as The Handmaid’s Tale meets Lord of the Flies, and while I think that’s an accurate description, it doesn’t quite do it justice. The Grace Year is entirely original. Set in a society that’s expertly designed to favor men, and turn women against each other, it completely marveled me by its depth and complexity.
At times I was positively infuriated at the events, and the injustice in the book. At others, I felt hopeful and happy for the characters. I would recommend the Grace Year to anyone who likes dystopian stories and suspense.