“No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.”
Sixteen-year-old Tierney James doesn’t speak of the grace year but she’s spent a lot of time searching for clues. Unfortunately, she still doesn’t know what happens when girls are banished from Garner County for an entire year. But she does see the haunted looks and scarred skin of the gaunt and broken looking women who return from their grace year. The ones who survived, but barely.
Tierney and other girls that live in Garner County are told that they have a magic that can make boys and men lose their minds, that their skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, and that their youth drives older women crazy with jealousy. So in their sixteenth year, the girls are banished from Garner County in hopes that they will release their magic into the wild. During the year the girls live together but fend for themselves as they try to survive.
Tierney dreams of a better life, but she must pretend she does not dream. Dreaming is a punishable offense.
What do Tierney’s forbidden dreams mean?
Will Tierney survive the grace year? And if she does, what will happen upon her return to Garner County?
This book REALLY got into my head. I couldn’t think of anything else. I almost flipped to the end to see what happened. Apparently, this novel has already been optioned to be a major motion picture.
The story is told from Tierney’s point of view. We see what life is like for females in Garner County. They can be accused of anything and punished for the smallest of transgressions.
I don’t usually compare books but if I did, I would have to say that this is like The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies with a bit of Mean Girls.
There is quite a bit of violence in this book with some pretty brutal scenes. It was a bit too morbid for me at times, but I never considered not finishing the book. I HAD to see how it was going to end.
Overall, this was an interesting and engrossing story about cruelty, strength, and survival.
I’d like to thank Wednesday Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.