The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas
Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Book
Format: ARC e-book
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This was the perfect book for us to read after finishing the Geek Girl series by Holly Smale. Grace had the same style quirks as Harriet, and even though she wasn’t spurting facts left, right and centre, there was that same sense of frivolity and fun that Geek Girl omits. If you love that series, it’s guaranteed you’ll get on well with Grace and co.
Grace has Asperger’s. Grace, and everyone around her, deals with this because it’s completely normal. I’ve read a few Own Voices reviews of the book that talk about how good it is that Grace isn’t seen as a ‘problem child’ or ‘weird’ by other people, and that’s one of the reasons this book is so good. Many books that are dealing with the non-average teenager will make whatever makes them non-average into their whole personality. Have an eating disorder? Well, you might as well be called Anorexia. Have depression? Well, looks like all you’ll be feeling is depressed. Grace is the complete opposite of this, and that’s beyond refreshing. Some of her teachers don’t even realise she has Asperger’s. It’s not an excuse for her behaviour – it’s just something she lives with.
I really loved how developed the family life was in The State of Grace. Her dad is a photographer, and hardly ever around, her mother is bordering on alcoholism and her sister is seriously lacking a positive role model. Grace gets to escape to be with her horse, Mabel, and her best friend, Anna, getting up to lots of shenanigans while pushing aside all her issues, until the end when it all comes to face her at once. While you could say that the book lacked a lot of extended conflict, I thought that The State of Grace was a great slice of life story, where you experienced every facet of Grace’s life, in bite sized bits.
The pacing, and how fast it is, can be reasoned by the fact that this book is under 300 pages. Under 250 in fact. I didn’t realise the book was so short to begin with, but this definitely led to a more Middle Grade than YA vibe.
Overall, The State of Grace was a fun read, if a bit predictable…but Geek Girl can be at times, so that’s not a reason to not read it. If you’re looking for something that’s a lot of fun, with a main character with lots of voice, Grace is the way to go. We ended up giving the book 3 stars and would definitely recommend to any teen that feels like a child at heart.
While I’m not sure if The State of Grace is an #OwnVoices novel, have you read any lately that you’ve really enjoyed? When was the last time you read about a character with horse riding as a hobby? (Mine was probably those My Secret Unicorn books from a decade ago!)