Weekend Pick for January 6, 2023
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It is a New Year! A year of new hopes, dreams, opportunities, and choices! Let’s hope to live in a better world! Let's dream to overcome prejudices and unknown challenges! Let's choose to be kind to each other and people around us! Let’s choose to be compassionate and caring! Let’s choose to read books because they help us see people, who similarly to us experience life with all its worth and lessons!
So from all of us at Dr. Bickmore’s YA Wednesday, Happy New Year! Here is to a new year of reading, thinking, and enjoying human wisdom, talents, and infinite bravery to face reality!
The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies
in Kim Liggett’s dystopian YA thriller The Grace Year
In Garner County, all girls are banished to the wilderness for a year when they’re 16 to release their feminine magic into the wild. They must purify themselves before returning home, where some will be married, and some will have to work. When Tierney James enters her grace year, she quickly realizes that everything she fears about the grace year—including poachers that hunt the girls for sport and disappearances that can’t be explained—is nothing compared to the girls she must survive with.
Meet the Author
Kim Liggett originally pursued a career in music in the 1980s and sang backup for some of the biggest rock bands in the country. In 2015 she published her first novel, Blood and Salt. Her other works include Heart of Ash, The Last Harvest, and The Unfortunates.
In an interview with Brazos Bookstore, Kim Liggett revealed that she was inspired to write The Grace Year after watching a young girl, maybe 13 years old, board a train to return to school. Her parents seemed relieved to be free of her, and the men in the train station were eyeing her for a bit too long. The other women seemed to look at her with pity or jealousy for her childlike innocence and happiness.
The major topics in this novel include feminism/gender equality, coming-of-age, gender roles, oppression, and individuality vs conformity.
This book could be examined through any critical lens, but these may be the most interesting to explore: gender, new historicism, psychological, and reader-response.
Many of the topics and themes in this novel could be explored through a creative activity, such as a poetry exercise exploring gender roles, oppression, or individuality. This novel would also pair well with nonfiction articles pertaining to women’s rights or other dystopian stories revolving around gender.
“The bones of Liggett’s (The Unfortunates, 2018, etc.) tale of female repression are familiar ones, but her immersive storytelling effortlessly weaves horror elements with a harrowing and surprising survival story. Profound moments lie in small details, and readers’ hearts will race and break right along with the brave, capable Tierney’s. The biggest changes often begin with the smallest rebellions, and the emotional conclusion will resonate. All characters are assumed white. Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely.”
Happy reading, friends!
Till next week,