Book Review: The State of Grace (Rachael Lucas)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Pages: 224

Release Date: April 6th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 anymore.

Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.

Review:

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately and struggled with reading this. It wasn’t bad but I just didn’t want to pick it up a lot of the time. That is, until the ending, when I couldn’t stop reading and had to find out what happened.

Grace is a girl dealing with all the usual teenage girl problems – family drama, bitchy girls at school, boys – while also feeling like she’s on the back foot as she has Asperger’s. I’m not autistic and don’t have anyone close to me who is so I’m no expert on the subject, but I thought Grace’s depiction was handled really well. She was a sympathetic character and showed the frustrations of trying to fit in when you feel you weren’t made to.

I struggled with the book at first because it just felt like nothing was happening. There was some general day to day stuff, some disruption as Grace’s mum’s old friend Eve appears and starts messing with their routines, but I felt like I was waiting for it to get going for a really long time.

The relationship with Gabe was sweet but he felt a bit nothingy to me – there wasn’t much personality there. It was a shame because Grace was such a well fleshed out character that a lot of others seemed to fall flat around her.

I was really conflicted with how I felt about Grace’s mum. On the one hand, I could see from Grace’s point of view that her mum wasn’t being there for her or understanding her as she usually did, but on the other, I understood her need to be something more than a stay at home mum looking after a couple of teenage girls. I really felt for her having to do everything while her husband worked away for so long as well.

The ending was where the book really wowed for me. Everything that was bubbling away throughout the book suddenly boiled over into a tense climax that kept me reading late into the night.

This is a short read and I felt that maybe too many things were covered in not enough detail. While I loved all of Grace’s bits and the romance was sweet, her sister Leah’s storyline seemed to erupt out of nowhere and the absent father bit was tied up quickly at the end. Still, Grace was a great character to read and I’d still recommend this book.

3