The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Overall: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Feels: 🤨🤬😱💔😤😢

Genre: YA, Dystopian, Speculative Fiction
Location: Garner County
Character age range: 16
Lead: Tierney James
Love interest(s): Ryker, Michael
HEA: Subjective
Tear jerker: 😠😢

Kindle Unlimited: No
Audible: Yes – performed by Emily Shaffer – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – narration and pacing is excellent with a bonus interview with Kim Liggett at the end.
Series: No – Stand Alone; has been optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks to be made into a major motion picture.

~QD 🔥~
Sex/kink type: None – it is understood that characters have sex but it is not described.
Possible triggers: Misogyny, oppression, graphic violence, suicide, death, queerphobia

The Quick and Dirty: Poignant, suspenseful, thought-provoking. A harrowing ride that you will think about long after you’ve turned the last page.

When GOT was still running, it was the era of “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” 2019 is now the year of “Your eyes are wide open, but you see nothing.” 

“Your eyes are wide open, but you see nothing.” 

I went in blind, actively avoiding any hype about The Grace Year so I wouldn’t be influenced. While I was not expecting a light and fluffy YA read, I also didn’t expect to feel as distressed or angry as I felt. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy reading it, but the book made me FEEL. And some of those feelings were unwanted not only because they were characteristically unpleasant but because of how acutely aware I was of the allegories, and the parallels to our society in how we treat girls and how we are all complicit to a certain degree in perpetuating a culture that encourages women to tear each other down. Of course bringing light to these issues also encourages all of us to examine our own biases and behavior and how we can do better.

Critics compare this book to The Hunger Games, The Power and Lord of the Flies. There is truth to that, but one place it differs is in the rebellion. While the book is action packed and fast paced, the rebellion is not loud and aggressive as it is in the aforementioned books. It’s a slow process that takes one day at a time, one small decision at a time. And in that way, Kim Liggett reminds us we can all be a Garner County woman with a red flower pinned to her cloak.

I’ll leave you with this quote that is a good reminder:
“My father always told me that it’s the small decisions you make when no one is watching that makes you who you are. Who do we want to be?” 

Other favorite quotes: 

“White ribbons for the young girls, red for the grace year girls, and black for the wives. Innocence. Blood. Death.”

“In the county, there’s nothing more dangerous than a woman who speaks her mind. That’s what happened to Eve, you know, why we were cast out from heaven. We’re dangerous creatures. Full of devil charms. If given the opportunity, we will use our magic to lure men to sin, to evil, to destruction.” My eyes are getting heavy, too heavy to roll in a dramatic fashion. “That’s why they send us here.”
“To rid yourself of your magic,” he says.
“No,” I whisper as I drift off to sleep. “To break us.”

“We hurt each other because it’s the only way we’re permitted to show our anger. When our choices are taken from us, the fire builds within. Sometimes I feel like we might burn down the world to cindery bits, with our love, our rage, and everything in between.”

A speculative thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power. Optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks to be a major motion picture!

“A visceral, darkly haunting fever dream of a novel and an absolute page-turner. Liggett’s deeply suspenseful book brilliantly explores the high cost of a misogynistic world that denies women power and does it with a heart-in-your-throat, action-driven story that’s equal parts horror-laden fairy tale, survival story, romance, and resistance manifesto. I couldn’t stop reading.” – Libba Bray, New York Times bestselling author

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.



At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City, where she pursued a career in music. Along with lending her voice to hundreds of studio recordings, she was a backup singer for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80’s. She’s the author of Blood and Salt, Heart of Ash, The Last Harvest (Bram Stoker Award Winner), The Unfortunates, and The Grace Year.