The State of Grace by Rachel Lucas
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.
Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more.
Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.
Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.*
I have stated countless times on this blog that I just don’t like contemporary YA. As a nearly 29 year old, it just doesn’t click with me. However, The State of Grace resonated so strongly with me. This book is something special, and I was absolutely charmed.
Told in first person, we get a first-hand look at Grace’s life and experiences. The book reads like any other teen girl’s narrative might – she’s constantly thinking about her best friend, boys, parties, and school. However, Grace has Asperger Syndrome, which is ‘a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others’. We see this in the way her thoughts race when she leaves the company of her friends and peers, when she struggles in class, and when she’s dealing with changes in her home. Grace is incredibly funny, charming, and loyal to her friends. She’s the type of young woman that the target demographic can and should look up to.
This book tackles a number of issues affecting modern teenagers including mental health, disabilities, divorce, bullying, and peer pressure. We come into Grace’s life at a time of instability. Her father is away for work and her mother’s life is being taken over by an old university friend. There are parties, boys, and mean girls to deal with. Her younger sister is starting to act out. As a young woman who needs stability, Grace’s world starts to come apart. The family dynamic in particular was interesting to me. You get hints as to what’s going on, but since Grace doesn’t truly know the situation, neither does the reader.
Although I cannot speak for the realism of Asperger’s in the book, I imagine Lucas is the absolute perfect person to write such a novel as she has been diagnosed with Asperger’s herself. It is great to see a heroine with autism treated in such a wonderful way. The State of Grace is an absolute treat and a perfect heartwarming summer read.
Have you read The State of Grace? What did you think? Let me know!
*copy courtesy of Goodreads