Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

  • Post last modified:December 11, 2022

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett Summary

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett


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.

Review of The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

So here’s the thing — The Grace Year keeps getting compared to a lot of YA dystopians, but per usual, I hate the practice of comp titles in marketing (I know, I know) and think it really does this one a disservice. Though I will say that if you are in your 20s and fondly remember the dystopian wave that hit YA there for a while, but want something with a more literary feel, this is for you.

I quite literally couldn’t put it down, and despite the criticism I’ve heard, that says a lot about about how gripping I found it. I was making excuses in order to finish it — because I was listening (thank you,!), my apartment got pretty clean.

I love YA, obviously, but the one big thing that made this book feel different to me was the amount of growth Tierney goes through — there was a lot of impressive evolution here on her part. Although YA certainly contains character development, this was an arc that felt slightly more poignant to a 20-something girl. Also, some pieces of this book are downright spooky — I mean, Liggett is twisted, y’all.

There are, of course, some things I thought could have been better. One, I think there were some holes in the history of this society that could rip things apart if examined closely, but I personally was willing to suspend my disbeliefs for the sake of the story. I also felt towards the end that perhaps a more ambiguous ending could have served this one in a literary sense — but even though it went on a little longer than I necessarily wanted, I think there was a lot of growth there in the end that was valuable to the story.

In summary, The Grace Year is one of my rarely-given five star reads for the year.


The Grace Year by Kim Liggett was released October 8, 2019.  Although Wednesday Books and provided me with a free review copy, this did not in any way affect my review.

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