Thursday, 13 April 2017

Review: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas
Out: 6th April 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan - Macmillan Children's Books

From Netgalley:
'Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost. Fifteen-year-old Grace is funny and plain-spoken. Just because she has Asperger's doesn't mean she's great at maths (she's not) or can draw the Eiffel Tower from memory (she can't). Like any teenager, Grace just wants to fit in, so when it turns out that the cutest boy in school likes her, she finds herself falling in with the cool crowd. But with her dad away and her mum distracted there's no one at home to see Grace's younger sister spiralling out of control, and suddenly everything threatens to fall apart - unless Grace can fix things on her own. Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace is a heart-warming story of one girl and her totally normal teenage life.'

Thank you to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this novel. 

Grace is easily one of my favourite narrators that I've read in a while. Her voice is so authentic, she's imperfect but so sympathetic. I have to say, I know very little about Autism, so I can't speak for how true to life that aspect of the story is, but it felt very real. It's very well written, conveyed by small details rather than beating the reader over the head with the fact. From an anxiety point of view I really related to Grace's struggles, and I think a lot of people will do. I also admire the fact that at no point is Grace's condition a substitute for the plot. Even without that, this would be an interesting book, there's plenty going on. In fact, because the book is so well written, and drew me in so much, I found that I didn't even realise how much everything was building up until it all started to go wrong, then it kind of hit me.

The writing itself is beautiful, at times poetic, which is what made me really love this book from the first page. It's full of heart but never to the point of being over the top, this is a very British book after all. The tone is exactly right. There's so much going on, and so much that Grace doesn't understand, but the subtle details are in there to let the reader know more. Sometimes we can see it even if Grace can't.

There are quite a lot of characters. but because of all of these subtle, little details, it's never confusing. Even characters who aren't around much or very involved in the story still provide an important part of the backdrop. Nothing in the story is black and white, it's obvious Grace isn't the only one that's struggling with things that are happening.

To say anything more about the story itself would be to give too much away. I went in knowing very little and got some wonderful surprises, I recommend anyone else doing the same.


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