Friday, July 06, 2012

Review: Grace by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Grace
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Speak
Release date: September 16th 2010
Pages: 224
Genre: YA
Source: Bought
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Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is a hard book to review. I honestly have no idea what to say about Grace. I don't even know as what genre to classify this - is it a dystopian or post-apocalyptical world this book is set in? Or is it an oppressive regime in today's world? I can't decide which I think it is. But maybe it doesn't even matter; maybe it could be both.

The beginning of Grace is very, very confusing, since you have absolutely no idea what's going on or who's who. But that suspense kept me reading, and I didn't put the book down once until I'd finished it. It's a short book, with just over 200 pages, but the sparse writing makes it read even faster.

Elizabeth Scott is an incredible author. She's written her usual light contemporaries as well as the horrifying amazing-ness that is Living Dead Girl. And now this, whatever this is. I honestly believe there is no genre Elizabeth Scott couldn't write masterfully. It's stunning how variable her writing is - in her light contemporaries, her style is easy and cute, while in Living Dead Girl and Grace, it's... I don't even know how to describe it. Her style is sparse and immediate, making everything even more horrifying.

Horrifying is the only way to describe this book, really. What happens in Grace is so, so terrible. I wouldn't say I liked the characters, since all of them are murderers or rapists or just bad people, but it was fascinating to read about them. I don't even want to say anything more about the plot, since I liked not knowing much and just letting the story unfold. You know that what's happening is terrible, but you just can't look away. 

This book is suspenseful and horrifying, in a good way. You'll read the first page and just keep reading till the end, not looking up once. The message, though, will haunt you till long after. I think Grace will appeal to any reader, since it can't be classified as any one genre. Well, to any reader who likes dark books, because Grace is definitely not a light read.


  1. Wow this sounds like a really great YA read. The cover is really cool too. Thanks for the great review!
    Janiera @ Books & Beauty

  2. I've heard awesome things about Elizabeth Scott - she wrote Miracle which came out this year about a girl who survived a crash and I think has survivor's guilt. I haven't read it, but many of her storylines seem to be tough and gritty and meaningful.

    When I read the synopsis for Grace I thought it was about a potential suicide bomber, who has to break with her culture and religion in order to follow her own beliefs. I never thought it would be dystopian!

    Does the Angel part throw in some fantasy as well? And do you ever connect with Grace? You mentioned how all the characters are awful - is there anything redeeming about some of them at least? I like supporting characters who bring the story to life, I think some supporting characters really give the story color and uniqueness because they're quirky or funny. I don't know what I'd' think if all the characters are basically evil.

    1. I haven't read Miracle yet, but most of Elizabeth Scott's books are awesome :)

      It sort of is about a potential suicide bomber, but it's also kind of different. There's a country with an oppressive regime, and there's this opposition/counter-movement/whatever you call it that wants to take down the regime, using these suicide bombers like the main character. And the main character doesn't want to sacrifice her life, so she tries to escape. It's just never really clear whether this country is one in today's world or in a dystopian one. I never saw any paranormal aspects in Grace, no. But there are so many different ways to read this book because it's so ambiguous, you could probably see some of it as paranormal, too!

      The main character does have some redeeming qualities - it's not her fault she was raised in this society, and she's just trying to live her life. Most of them are just fighting for what they think is right, so in a way, you can understand them. They just use completely wrong means to get what they want. The characters aren't quirky or funny - you don't get to know them all that well, really, since this is just a short snapshot of their lives - but they're unique because the set-up is so different from anything else I've read.

    2. Oh I see what you mean! I love it when the story is open to interpretation by the reader. It makes it almost interactive, and each person can bring their own history to it. It would probably be great for class discussion since it combines regimes, ideology, free will, etc.

      It's good when even when characters are evil, you understand why they are evil.

  3. Hannah, I just finished Breaking Beautiful and I loved it! It's by Jennifer Shaw Wolf and it's about abuse in a teen relationship. It's so well done, and the characters are awesome. There's also a mystery in there which I think you'd like.

    Have you read it?

    1. Oh, I forgot to respond to this part in my comment! Anyways: No, I haven't read that one yet, but I really want to - it's high up on my wishlist! I've heard great things about it, and I always love when books combine mystery with other normal contemporary-like storylines, like grief or romance, which Breaking Beautiful seems to do. Glad you liked it :)

    2. You'll love all the secondary characters - they're all fully fleshed out and even the mean girl is real, not just a cut-out of a mean girl.

      It's also set in a small town, which creates all sorts of tension.

  4. Okay, so the recurrence of words such as "horrifying" throughout the review kind of turn me away from it, lol.I picked this up at the local library's book sale, since it looks like either a sci-fi-ish book or one about a cult (I'm fine with either one).

    Seriously, though, I'm glad to hear it's a fascinating read. I hadn't connected the author with any other books, but the fact that her writing is distinctive and engrossing bumps Grace up on my TBR list. Thanks for the review!

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention how much better your copy's cover is! I have the hardback; I didn't realize until I picked it up at the sale that the book's not self-published. The cover above looks much more professionally-done, at least in terms of the fonts, and I think the image probably suits the story more than one of a giant, yellow-tinted face.

    2. I mean "horrifying" in a good way!! Although, of course, if you prefer happy, light reads, this probably won't be for you. This is a lot different from Eliyabeth Scott's other books (other than Living Dead Girl), so maybe you'll like this one :)

      Yeah, I prefer this cover, too - it's so much more unique and says more about the story!

  5. This book sounds utterly confusing... and I kind of like that! ;) Even though the beginning was confusing for you, I can definitely see how that would make you want to keep reading this, Hannah! I'm definitely going to have to pick this book up now, I really enjoy a good dark read, and this book is so short as well. It'll be a breeze to finish! =)

    Fabulous review, Hannah! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  6. Your review certainly got me interested. I don't mind a dark read sometimes, so GRACE makes my reading list.

  7. I'm adding it to my TBR list. But, oh... It seems just too perfect. I love authors that can write in different genres and still be amazing!

  8. Based on the blurb, I'd possibly skip this book, but your review made me curious. Perhaps I'm going to give it a try: I tend to like horrifying books :p


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