Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
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.
Wow, this book was so powerful! It takes a hard look at the relationships between women – at the empowerment of sisterhood, but also at the power that women have to tear each other down (and how patriarchy pits us against one another). That we are stronger together instead of against one another. It’s been a while since I read a dystopian I enjoyed this much!
It had a very Lord of the Flies feel when we were seeing the girls in their Grace Year. This book is quite brutal. You watch as things spin out of control and are powerless to stop it. It shows the darker side of humanity, and it felt very real. It made me feel things! I was angry many times on behalf of the women and all they endured.View Spoiler »I am upset that I didn’t cry when Ryker died. I was horrified, but part of me didn’t think he would actually die, so I kept expecting him to come back. I didn’t believe he was really dead at first, so I was robbed of that emotion. I will say, I gasped out loud when it was revealed that she was pregnant! Didn’t expect that. Also that ending?? Did she die, or was she imagining Ryker?! « Hide Spoiler
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5
No Beauties or Monsters Published by Delacorte (12.7.2021)
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Rylie hasn’t been back to Twentynine Palms since her dad died. She left a lot of memories out there, buried in the sand of the Mojave Desert. Memories about her dad, her old friends Nathan and Lily, and most of all, her enigmatic grandfather, a man who cut ties with Rylie’s family before he passed away. But her mom’s new work assignment means their family has to move, and now Rylie’s in the one place she never wanted to return to, living in the house of a grandfather she barely knew.
At least her old friends are happy to welcome her home. Well, some of them, anyway. Lily is gone, vanished into the desert. And Twentynine Palms is so much stranger than Rylie remembers. There are whispers around town of a mysterious killer on the loose, but it isn’t just Twentynine Palms that feels off—there’s something wrong with Rylie, too. She’s seeing things she can’t explain. Visions of monstrous creatures that stalk the night.
Somehow, it all seems to be tied to her grandfather and the family cabin he left behind. Rylie wants the truth, but she doesn’t know if she can trust herself. Are the monsters in her head really out there? Or could it be that the deadliest thing in the desert . . . is Rylie herself?
This book is very atmospheric, and I enjoyed the setting. There’s an air of mystery surrounding it because you don’t now what the heck is going on. I enjoyed the journey in discovering the clues and trying to figure things out, but sadly I didn’t connect to the characters at all and didn’t care what happened to them. My feels were low on this one even though I was intrigued by the story.
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5