Tierney James has reached 16 years of age, called the grace year in Garner County when young girls must leave for the next year and purge themselves of their magic, which reaches its height and most potent level now. That “magic” is their essence that causes men to be unable to resist them and women to be madly jealous of them. Not all of them are expected to survive and what they’ll face is almost unimaginable.
I struggle with defining when this story is placed and have decided that I’ll just speculate based on my own instincts. It’s a dystopian environment as everything that happens is beyond acceptable in this society. I imagine it’s the culmination of future events based on the common experience girls and women continue to face today. While improving, its ability to continue to get better is precarious. This story, for me, is a cautionary warning to all women to not slide back and to keep moving forward.
I added this book to my shelf solely on the recommendation of one friend who said I must so I didn’t even read the synopsis before starting. It quickly became disturbing and I needed to find a place to anchor me in the story, which took some time. I wanted to find the villains and heroes but that clarity never came because, through Tierney, I figured out that each person had to find that in themselves before they could empower others. Tierney never lost her courage of conviction, though she didn’t always make the correct choices. However, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Things happened that repulsed me but there was an underlying beauty to Tierney’s unwavering belief in the girls who failed her time and again.
I have to applaud the narrator, Emily Shaffer, who performed the story in such a way that she never got in the way of the story. She illuminated the characters the way they were crafted, so vividly I had no issues imagining them. I’m grateful I made the decision to listen to this story because the narration is outstanding.
This was an extremely difficult story with the most powerful messages and themes. I listened to the interview with the author at the end of the book and am so glad I did as she reinforced some of the messages I captured and provided me with some “aha” moments. I haven’t shelved this as young adult as my sense is that it’s an even more important story for adult women, to capture these messages and continue (or begin!) to empower young women as they are introduced to a world that hasn’t taken the best care of or properly nurtured them. This is such an important book in any format.
- Release Date: October 8, 2019
- Narrator: Emily Shaffer
- Audio Length: 11 hours, 42 minutes
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio
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The book is being developed into a major motion picture film by actress/director Elizabeth Banks!
(Thanks to Macmillan Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)