The Book that Saved the Female Led Dystopian Genre

The Book that Saved the Female Led Dystopian Genre

Alanna Voelker

I don’t know about you but I read because it makes me feel something and if a book doesn’t make me feel grief, anguish, love, hate or fear, I don’t want it. So for those of you like me who want to feel all of the emotions while reading, you will love this book because all of the feelings I listed are displayed in The Grace Year by Kim Liggett. 


The Grace Year is a book published in 2019 that has great messages about feminism, abuse and more. The book tells the story of Tierney James who lives in a rural misogynistic and cult-like town that we are led to believe is the only society around. The women of this town are thought to develop terrifying and deadly powers on their “Grace Year” when they turn 16. To keep the girls’ powers at bay, they send the girls to a year of rural isolation far away from their town to burn through their “powers” with minimal food, clean water or protection from the hunters waiting outside the walls. There is high suspense, gruesome violence, action, love, grief and multiple plot twists that will leave you shaking.

After the dreaded early 2000’s female main character dystopian book era, many female led dystopian books have just had a copy and paste female main character that follows the “I’m not like other girls” trope that many like me despise but the main character of this book Tierany is a refreshing breath of fresh air. Tierany was put through an amazing amount trauma and fear throughout this book but she is still a great example of a feminist character that does not conform to the standards of her society but in a likable way. Not in a “I’m not like other girls” type of dystopian novel type of way. 

To intrigue you romance readers out there, this book also has some romance in the midst of the

violence but it’s ultimately overshadowed by the rest of the story so if you want romance but for it not to be the whole plot, you will enjoy this book.

Though in my opinion that The Grace Year by Kim Liggett is one of the best books published in 2019, like any book, it’s not a book for everyone and has some drawbacks and trigger warnings that will steer people away from it. The Grace Year is not for the faint of heart and though it has great messages about feminism, abuse and the importance of a non-misogynistic society, it is brought to you in a violent and brutal way. From assault to girls being skinned alive, Kim Liggett explains it all in gory details that would even turn a thriller lover’s blood cold. Also if you are looking for a book that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside, this book also isn’t for you. It has mentions of parental abuse, rape and its devastating at least and will leave you crying under your covers at 2am. It also has a very sad ending that will make you question what happened in the author’s life to make her so heartless. So to the people who couldn’t handle beginner action books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, don’t pick up this book.

Though it has intense violence and many different trigger warnings, The Grace Year is one of the best books I have ever read. I was weary of reading more female led dystopian novels, in fear of the terrible plots and the “I’m not like other girls” trope, but now I think I might try reading more from the genre now knowing its potential. The books great main character, messages and the way she writes about emotion is something that I believe everyone should experience if they’re able and comfortable and I will continue to recommend this book for many years to come.