Are we friends on Goodreads?!
I finished The Grace Year a few days ago and have been trying to collect my thoughts on this book. I’ve been scouring Goodreads and reviews to read others’ thoughts and compare to my own interpretation (yes, this is what I do in my spare time LOL). I’m honestly struggling to find the words to give this book justice; it was a super slow start for me as this ‘type’ of book is not one I ever read. The dystopia tone mixed with extremely relatable elements gave off such a Midsommar vibe (if you’ve seen this movie, you know what I’m trying to get at).
The town where 16 year old Tierney lives has led its citizens to believe that young girls have such sexual and deviant power over men that they must go through a ‘grace year’ in order to rid themselves of their toxic powers. The girls believe that spending an entire year in isolation among the other 16 year olds, aka the grace year, will fully cleanse them and they will return to the town holy and ready for marriage; their powers will be admitted into the wild, never to be seen nor spoken of again.
Tierney is skeptical; unlike the other young girls who wholeheartedly believe this is their path in life, Tierney questions whether the magic is real and if the girls truly do hold a special force over the men in their town. Forced into an encampment for an entire year, left only to themselves and their minds, Tierney has seen and heard horror stories of what occurs during the grace year. Those who are lucky to return alive are in horrible shape, often missing body parts, tortured and emaciated. Tierney isn’t sure what happens during the unspeakable year, but she knows when given the choice between life and loyalty, most women will choose to live, regardless of whom they put in harm’s way. A book that is just as much about relationships among women than it is gender stereotypes, this book examines a deeper look at the complexity and competitiveness that lie deep beneath the surface of female relationships.
The Grace Year is unlike anything I’ve read before. The underlying themes throughout this book are so strong that it’s almost overwhelming. Despite this mythical type of world the characters live in where young girls are hunted for their potent essence of youth and skin that emits aphrodisiacs, I understood what it means to live in a society that sexualize women for their bodies instead of recognizing us for our minds and intellect. A society that still believes women are less superior to men, that we are made to reproduce and tend to the home. Although it’s 2020, we still tend to fall into archaic views of gender roles and this book is a stark reminder that although progress has been made, albeit small, there are still strides to go.
I urge you to step outside of your comfort zone and give The Grace Year a chance – and then immediately message me so we can discuss!