Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publication Year: 2010
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopia
Source: 1 ARC Tours
From the cover:
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.
You know, I seem to be one of the only people in the book blogosphere that hasn’t read an Elizabeth Scott novel until now.
This was definitely a good first book of hers to read, because it absolutely blew my socks off. I pretty much finished it all in one sitting, not just because it’s a YA novel and fairly short, but because I really wanted to find out what on earth had happened to bring these two characters together, and what was going to happen to them in the end. Scott doesn’t give us all of the background information until fairly deep into the book, but doles it out in little bits and pieces until then, reeling the reader in.
Grace isn’t flashy. It is not glitzy or dimple cheeked. It is deliciously barren. A small novel, its short chapters and at times even shorter sentences convey the trapped quality of this world and the tethers that bind. It is novels like Grace that challenge the notion that YA is fluff. There’s no fluff here, only heat and oppression. Sparse, resolute and political, Scott has explored the notions of power, identity and sacrifice in a way that leaves you quiet. It creeps up on you. It is the study of a girl who straddles two worlds and is wanted by neither. In choosing herself, she chooses to fight for her freedom.
This is a book that made me think the whole way through. Grace seems so simple on the surface, but there are so many layers of understanding, ideologies, and personal insights that it really doesn’t turn out to be that simple of a book in the end. It stays with you. The simplicity serves a purpose. Scott’s characters and her story really make you think, make you re-evaluate everything it is that you understand about freedom and about putting yourself at the feet of a seemingly just cause.
Definitely something you should read, particularly if you’re interested in near-future dystopias, the ideologies of dictators and resistance forces, or the ethics and personal understandings of suicide bombers.
Or, you know, just if you love a great book with intriguing characters and an interesting premise.