After returning from a glorious day in Santa Fe yesterday, I headed to the room to rest the knee. I fell into the new Elizabeth Scott book, GRACE, and emerged only when I finished the last chapter. GRACE is a special young woman, one chosen by her People, the Hill People, to be an angel. The duty of an angel is to become a human sacrifice, to wear a bomb and explode it at the right moment in order to destroy some member of Keran Berj's inner circle. Grace failed in her mission and is now an outcast of her People as well as an enemy of Keran Berj. She must flee and try to find sanctuary.
This chilling dystopic novel is slim yet powerful. Readers learn little by little about Keran Berj and about the People who oppose his dictatorial and cruel government. It combines, for me, elements of THE CHILDREN'S STORY (Clavell) and 1984 (Orwell) and HUNGER GAMES (Collins) and CHAOS WALKING (Ness). However, the focus of the book is not on the survival of one person but more on the nature of corruption and evil. The total lack of compassion for victims is not just evident on Keran Berj's government. The People show some disregard as well: both sides in an effort to win are willing to sacrifice innocent lives. <490>
For high school teachers looking for some powerful reading, especially in a collaboration with social studies, GRACE is an excellent choice. THE CHOCOLATE WAR examines some of the same themes as this novel as well. So look for unusual pairings for your reading ladders.