I haven’t had the best luck with young adult books lately. But, when I came across The Grace Year, I knew I had to read it. It was marketed as a blend of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power. Which had everything in my brain screaming “yes please!”. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine any book living up to that claim. Fortunately, The Grace Year proved me wrong. Because that description is spot on (just add in a splash of The Hunger Games), and the offspring of those three books turned out to be amazing.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
Don’t let the pink cover fool you. The Grace Year is brutal. This book broke my heart, had me on the verge of tears, and made me want to scream. And I loved it. It had a bit of a slow start, but I think that was necessary to immerse you in the world this story takes place in. Once the story picks up, it is impossible to put this book down.
This is not an easy book to read, there is a lot of abuse (trigger warning for sexual, physical, and emotional abuse) and violence. I definitely made me uncomfortable at times. And I think that was kind of the point. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, this shines a light on how women are mistreated. I would definitely call it feminist fiction, and I think it did a great job of pointing out issues with how women are viewed.
The writing in this novel was excellent. I’m honestly pretty skeptical about writing in young adult books (it’s just not something I enjoy all that much), but this book did not feel like YA. It felt more mature, which is appropriate given the subject matter. It also helped me fly through this book in a day, because I could NOT go to sleep not knowing how it ended.
I’m hesitant to say anything else because I really think this book needs to just stand on it’s own. Don’t go into it with too many expectations. Just read it. Trust me. It’s one of the best young adult books I’ve read in a long time, and probably one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year (and I’ve read a lot of books this year).
★★★★★ – I loved The Grace Year! It’s just such a great book. This one deserves the hype, trust me. And go read it. (Also, if it helps at all, it was just optioned by Sony and Elizabeth Banks for a film adaptation, so you should probably read it before the movie comes out. Right?) Seriously, go read it.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.