"No one speaks of the Grace Year. It's forbidden." - Kim Liggett
In Garner County, no sixteen year old girl can avoid the Grace Year. It is a one year sentence where the girls of Garner leave their community to discover and expel their "magic" so they can return and be married off to the man who gives her a veil. The girls learn more than just the "hidden power" they possess, but also about the secrets their community has hidden from them for decades.
Going into this book, all I knew was I saw it in Target and I had to have it for its cover. Then, I did my research when I got home and discovered it was actually fairly popular on bookstagram.
Kim Liggett takes us on a journey of female discovery and the pressures women face everyday from society with a feminist dystopian lens. I greatly enjoy feminist novels because the female protagonists are so strong and have a disposition for shaking things up in a male dominated society.
The protagonist - Tierney - is a perfect example of everything I look for in feminist lit. She is bold and a little brazen, which makes her seem like an outsider in her community. But, she also has a caring quality about her when it comes to those she loves or feels particularly close to. I also love the fact that her name - Tierney - is literally a derivative of "tyranny" and "tiarna", the Irish word for lord or master. The name itself adds an extra boost to the separation between men and women in their society.
I thought the whole aspect of the girl's being forced to leave to discover their "magic" was fascinating. It was almost as if they were sent out into the wild to have their "wild phase" and then return to their society completely docile and submissive to be ready for marriage. I also loved her including woman on woman competition between two characters. Women have climbed on top of one another in order to succeed in certain careers for centuries. I loved how she tied in this concept throughout the whole Grace Year.
The main struggle I had with this book was there were some scenes I thought took away from the story and did not add to the overall plot. While I did listen to this on audio, there were a few sections I was completely confused by. The book also could have been shortened in certain sections of the Grace Year.
Overall, I give The Grace Year 4/5 stars! The book is the perfect reading solution for people who loved the Hunger Games, the Handmaid's Tale and Divergent. I wish this book would have a sequel to see what happens in later years, but who knows what Kate Liggett will do!