Books

Book Review: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

Admittedly, with working from home and whatever else I’ve been doing with my time (probably watching Disney+, eating and complaining that the days are going by too quickly!), I’ve hit a bit of a reading slump.

Before this slump happened, I did read The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas – the August book for the Books with Brooke Book Club (organised by Whispering Woman, a.k.a Brooke, whose blog content and socials are incredible- so definitely check them out!) – a book which follows Grace, a teenage girl with Asperger’s.

I did forget that I had this book to read for a while but once I did read it, I was glad (partly).

Blurb

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

My thoughts

Initially, like Brooke says in her review, I had the idea that this would follow an adult protagonist looking back or maybe even some sort of memoir. When I read on, however, I realised this was definitely more of a teen/YA book than I’d anticipated. It definitely didn’t spoil the reading experience but reading about a teenager now I find it harder to get into their minds and figure them out – I just found myself getting annoyed by the characters rather than trying to understand them!

Though there was a bit of family drama, a crush to navigate and an incident with a horse (which is not as weird as the phrasing makes it sound, I’m just trying not to spoil!), this kind of felt like a book that didn’t really have a plot, an end goal or something to work for. Ok, so it was about Grace navigating changing circumstances whilst also dealing with the way she sees the world, but I just feel like there wasn’t much to it – I really wanted more than a bit of family drama and a crush for her.

I’m a sucker for romance, even if you probably will catch me saying something about how I don’t “want/need a boyfriend” or swearing I’ll be single forever, so I was glad there was a bit of romance in this. Saying that, I wasn’t a fan of Gabe and Grace together, which was pretty annoying considering a lot of the book was just watching their relationship unfold. I think the relationship was a good thing to include but I just didn’t get all those feelings you usually get reading romance and watching things unfold.

What I will say, though, because this feels like a very negative review (which is absolutely not my intention), is that I’m happy Lucas chose a different protagonist for this book. I’m so used to (and a little tired of, being honest) romance books focusing on able bodied, perfect bodied people so it was nice to see falling in love – and life in general – represented from an entirely different perspective. Though I don’t have Asperger’s, I have often found it hard to fit and be “normal” because of my own disability so I completely related to Grace’s inner turmoil.

Though State of Grace was exactly the best, most exciting book I’ve read, I liked that it focused on love and life from a different perspective, proving to those who love love, the sceptics and everyone in between that love is out there for everyone, which is a wonderful thought.

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