Book Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

By Campbell Turner, Correspondent

“The Grace Year” is a feminist novel done right. Although it may seem at first like your typical YA novel, Kim Liggettdoes a fine job incorporating themes of religion and the strength of a group while keeping the reader on their toes.

“The Grace Year” follows Tierney, a proud tomboy who simply doesn’t fit in with her society’s perfect woman. She’s nothing like her quiet, domestic, and docile mother, not that she didn’t try. Her mother’s pressurings towards ladylike tendencies are particularly bad on “Veiling Day.”

Veiling Day is the day where all of the eligible bachelors select one of the eligible women to be their bride. While Tierney is confident she won’t be picked, she’s picked by her closest friend, Michael, crushing her dreams of being an unmarried woman, who are allowed to work in the fields. Now, she’s doomed to become her mother.

With that, Tierney and the other girls, both chosen and not, head out to start their “Grace Year,” a year where the women of age are sent to live out in the forest to remove them of the magic that all women possess at that age. That way they come back with their power removed, ready to be obedient wives.

One of my favorite things about “The Grace Year” are the little worldbuilding bits Liggett sprinkles in, especially ones about the town Tierney is from. The patriarchal society Tierney lives in is well fleshed out and it is clear that women are subhuman when it comes to their treatment.

Liggett drives the point home early on by mentioning that sometimes men will trade in their wives for new ones by getting them on trumped up charges and getting them killed. Since even elderly men also need wives, they will also pick a wife during the veiling ceremony. This results in one of the men on Tierney’s veiling being quite old with none of the girls wanting to be picked by him. There’s also the idea that women are not often allowed to speak to each other. They have to wait for small opportunities often with little to no privacy, such as after church.

While I’ve always been a fan of books like this, “The Grace Year ” managed to surpass my expectations and had me playing the audiobook at every single opportunity. I give The Grace Year a perfect 10/10. I highly recommend it for fans of modern feminist novels, those who are tired of the same old YA formula, and fans of dystopians.