“Life can be cruel. No one is immune to that, no matter how good you are.”
Rating: 5/5 stars
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Thank you Wednesday Books for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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.
To say I loved this would be an understatement. This is the second book this year that I immediately finished and added to my “favorites” bookshelf on Goodreads. Yes, it’s THAT good. The Grace Year is a powerful, horrifying read that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. You may want to consider giving yourself ample amount of time when picking this up because you can easily devour this book in one sitting. In a world where girls are banished for their sixteenth year to rid themselves of the believed magic they have and come back pure for their future husbands, The Grace Year, is a book that can easily be tied into everyday encounters a woman has had at least once in her life which makes it all the more powerful of a reading experience.
“The women aren’t allowed to own pets in the country. We are the pets.”
Tierney James, our main character, is a strong sixteen year old, dreaming of a better life that doesn’t revolve around becoming the perfectly groomed, silent wife like the rest of the women in Garner County. She’s grown up to see women against one another, especially after returning from their grace year and she silently questions everything she’s ever known until being sent away to rid herself of her magic. Upon arriving at the “camp” where the girls are to spend the next year, Tierney is faced with the girls being pitted against one another, discovering the truth about the grace year, building unlikely friendships, running for her life, possibly an enemies to lovers trope (wink, wink), and ultimately just trying to survive what becomes known as the most brutal grace year yet.
“They can call it magic. I can call it madness. But one thing is certain. There is no grace here.”
There isn’t one thing I disliked about this story… believe it or not. I absolutely adored how resilient Tierney was. I loved the setting, all of the characters (yes, even the ones I hated), the powerful messages behind this story, the pacing, and all of the plot twists. Which let’s stop and talk about those for a second. There are not many times I get so caught off guard by a plot twist that I need to put the book down and process what I just read, I like to think I’m pretty good at unraveling all the twists and turns. However, nothing could have prepared me for the ending of this story. NOTHING. But I was so blown away by the ending of this book for a multitude of reasons that I won’t go into because I will be damned if I spoil anything about this book. You think that this book is powerful in the beginning and the middle and then you get to the end and you’re just reduced to a puddle of tears, and hope, and happiness, which is 100% why you need to read this book.
“That’s the one thing they will never be able to control in me. My wild, wild heart.”
Plus, you guys know from all of my other reviews that I love quotes and honey, this book DELIVERS. I was in my highlighting glory reading this. I couldn’t pick my usual top three so I narrowed it down to about eight and even still…that was hard.
“I don’t hope for a flower from a boy, but I hope for a better life. A truthful life.”
“But that’s the funny thing about weeds. You can pull em up by the root, burn the soil where they stood, might lie dormant for years, but they’ll always find a way.”
“Why did you teach me those things? Show me what it meant to be free, and for what? I’m just like the rest of them now.”
“That’s the problem with letting the light in – after it’s been taken away from you it feels even darker than it was before. “
All in all, if you don’t have this book in your cart already on Amazon, B&N, Books-a-million, whatever store you use do it now and thank me later. And remember, give yourself ample amount when starting this because it’s pretty much unputdownable, and maybe have a box of tissues too for the end.
Until next time,