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Grace Hardcover – September 16, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–In a possible future, Grace is an Angel, training to be a suicide bomber for the People, a group of rebels who fight against the totalitarian regime of Keran Berj. While the boys fight as Rorys, or soldiers, certain girls are offered as sacrifices to the cause. But Grace is different: she doesn't want to be a sacrifice. So, on the day she is to kill herself, she instead sets off the bomb and escapes. Now she is riding on a train, disguised as the sister of a mysterious boy named Kerr, and on her way to the border and possible freedom. But the threat of discovery is always there, and Grace knows that her fragile disguise could fail at any moment. This is a terse, tight, powerful book that's heavy on atmosphere. The beginning is written as a series of flashbacks, and it's through them that readers get a somewhat confused, disjointed view of events. It is only in the latter third of the book, once the story focuses more on Grace and her relationship with Kerr, that the action moves more steadily and clearly and she comes into her own. It is during this part that Scott's writing shines as Grace questions whether purposely killing people is ever right, even if it is done in the name of freedom. Give this novel to fans of dystopias who want darker visions than Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008).–Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Although it’s never quite clear whether this is set in another world or a near future in ours, the parallels Scott (Living Dead Girl, 2008) strives for are patently evident. Grace was raised by the People to become an Angel, a girl whose single purpose in life is to strap on a bomb and blow up a chunk of disputed leader Keran Berj’s society. When Grace balks at the last moment and disgracefully survives the explosion, she attempts to flee the country along with another obviously haunted boy. The book takes place, with flashbacks, on the grueling train ride to the border, as the two evade the suspicions of guards and tentatively draw out each other’s shameful secrets. In all, it’s a fairly one-note affair: choose life, however hard, over an idealistic death. Surprisingly, this lacks a climax, but the terse writing effectively portrays Grace’s harrowing inner turmoil as it speaks to the part of the psyche that wonders how a person could willingly become a walking bomb. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1 edition (September 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525422064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525422068
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,848,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hey there, I'm Elizabeth. I write young adult novels. I've had a bunch of jobs over the years--I've sold pantyhose, hardware, and once spent three days burning cds during the boom (worst. job. ever.)--but hands down, writing is the best! You can read lots more about my books at my website,

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on September 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Grace has been trained her entire life to become a suicide bomber for her people in order to make a statement against the harsh rule of dictator Keran Berj. But when her ultimate mission fails and she chooses life over death by bomb, Grace is forced to flee on a train, the only way out of Keran Berj's land, with a stranger--a young man named Kerr. Throughout the long hours riddled with fear and uncertainty, Grace and Kerr revisit the past events that have brought them together, and discover what life and freedom are worth.

Elizabeth Scott's latest novel is haunting and horrific, and yet despite how foreign Grace's situation seems, readers will be able to find elements of our own world in this novel: the terrorism, dictatorships, the suicide bombers, and the conviction that people have for their beliefs, no matter how erroneous they may be. Though the first couple of chapters are a bit vague, the pieces quickly fall into place and Grace's life becomes clearer as the book moves quickly forward, bouncing back and forth between her past and training for her death, and Grace's time spent on the train fleeing. Though her escape seems clearly defined and straightforward, Scott does throw in a few unexpected twists to keep you on your toes and always wondering who can be trusted.

Despite the terrible and shocking nature of Grace and Kerr's world, Grace is a beautiful story of how two different people from two very different backgrounds learn to see each other for who they really are and are able to look past the stereotypes of their pasts and people to come together and find a common goal: discovering the purpose of life, achieving freedom, redemption, and ultimately, grace.

This is by far Scott's most powerful and galvanizing book yet, proving her to be a flexible and exceedingly talented writer. Grace is a book that demands to be devoured in one sitting, but read time and time again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mara E on July 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Three stars might be too generous, but two doesn't quite give it justice. Certainly this is a scattered book, but it kept my attention (200 pages of spare writing liberally spaced on each page and organized into short chapters will do that sort of thing). The world is interesting, if a little over the top. The moral dilemma poses a good question (when is killing in the name of freedom justified? well, obviously never, but this is a dystopia and a terrorist organization we're talking about. there's a lot of indoctrination going on.)

Grace is a Hill person (terrorist) with a City person (dystopia hellscape) background who's been selected as an Angel, a fancy term for suicide bomber. After neglecting to actually commit suicide by bomb during her mass murder rampage, she flees to the City and is pushed onto a train by some random guy. She's got a travel partner, Kerr, who pretends to be her brother as they both high tail it out of the country. They don't like each other. After taking a moment to inform us that the leadership has eyes and ears everywhere, that they must act like relatives who at least tolerate each other, they proceed to fail miserably, what with the glaring and tense conversation that would most definitely tip off just about everyone in their train car.

As this train steadily chugs along, carrying the country's brightest and most loved, inevitably every single passenger is subjected to the whims of drunk and sadistic soldiers, latrine problems, starvation, dehydration, random rape and the occasional point-blank execution. None of this is really that shocking. This is a dystopia, after all. If someone isn't piling up dead bodies and disposing of them by burning down half their city while still somehow miraculously maintaining complete power, I'd be shocked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GreenBeanTeenQueen on October 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
About the Book: Grace was raised to be an angel-a suicide bomber who would honor her mission. But Grace can't die for the cause so instead she's on the run trying to get to a new life of freedom. She escapes to a train where she hides in plain site with her strange traveling companion Kerr, who has secrets of his own.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Grace is a stunning book that proves to me that Elizabeth Scott can write anything! Grace is a dystopian book that doesn't feel like a dystopian. It's a raw and powerful read that is chilling because readers can see the events easily unfolding today. Grace comes from a society that is blindly following Keran Berj and is part of a group that opposes his rule. Keran Berj's rule is frighteningly familiar and terrifying. Just look at history to see how a ruler like this could take over and it's easy to believe in Grace's tale.

The reader is thrown right into the story of Grace's escape. We are not given a background to understand what's happening, we're thrown right in and at first this is a little jarring. But I love this because it's up to the reader to figure out what's happening instead of being told the entire story upfront. Events unfold and we're given new details slowly throughout the novel-the plot unfolds in subtle layers and it's something as a reader you want to savor. There are moments when we come to a realization or discover something the same time Grace does-and I love those moments when reading! There are also moments that made me gasp in shock and surprise-I truly felt like I was there with Grace and going through everything with her.

Grace is different from other dystopian novels that I've read in that this one is not action packed and full of adventure.
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