• Bethany Welsh

'The Grace Year' by Kim Liggett - Book Review

'The Grace Year' is certainly a book I can get on board with. After discovering Margaret Atwood and her brilliant works, I've been eager to find another dystopian text that has similar creative ideas. Admittedly, Kim Liggett has managed to cleverly create a chaotic and dismantled dystopian society, that not only challenges the female gender but punishes them.

Throughout the text, women are identified as devilish characters and as a result of that, are exposed to dehumanising and brutal treatments. It is believed that women possess immense power, where they are able to lure men from their beds and commit insidious acts. As a result of this, in the county on their sixteenth year, girls are forced to complete a Grace Year, where they will be permitted to enter a dangerous and parallel universe. Once they have entered, they are confronted with daily battles: the poachers, hunger, and fighting for their survival. Yet, their biggest battles are each other. So, who will survive and who will remain?

The leading character, Tierney James, always had contrasting views when it came to the treatment of women in the county. Failing to meet the expectations of an idealised female and unable to conform to the distorted demands from society, Tierney longs for a better life, one where she can be free. Once they enter The Grace Year, it isn't long until Tierney is isolated from the group and is forced to experience it alone, which only heightens her vulnerability.

During this peculiar year, women are required to rid themselves of the apparent magic that is lingering inside of them, so they can return to the county purified, ready for marriage. Instead, the Grace Year transforms them into a group of psychotic females that are determined to destroy each other.

With gripping scenes and intense moments, Liggett's anti-utopian text explores the absence of individualism in women. As well as this, Liggett investigates the convoluted and complex relationships between girls, as they enter womanhood. Overall, The Grace Year is a text that exposes the susceptible mindsets of young girls. The easy manipulation that was imposed by the county, resulted in the girls feeling overpowered by their authority. Yet, will all of the girls conform to the county's preferred ideals? Or will they permanently mark a change?

The Grace Year is certainly a book that had me hooked! Dystopian texts have always been huge favourites of mine, so I have to say, I was impressed by Liggett's creative ideas - she certainly grasped my attention the whole way through!

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