Grace and Fury
by Banghart, Tracy

In an alternate world where women have no rights, two sisters face very different fates after an attempt to win the favor of the heir to the throne-one in the palace, the other on a volcanic prison island.

Tracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All that isolation and lovely scenery gave her the time to read voraciously and the inspiration to write her own stories. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world Army-wife style with her husband, son, and several mischievous fur babies. She wrote Grace and Fury while living in Hawaii.

The Handmaid's Tale gets a YA twist in this debut, which splits its focus between two sisters. In Viridia, there is no queen; the Superior has a harem of Graces, held up as examples of the ideal woman. Serina Tessaro has spent her life training to have the qualities of such a Grace: soft, demure, acquiescent. The Heir of Viridia has come of age, and if Serina is selected as one of his Graces, it could mean an easier life for her family. But it's her younger sister, Nomi, who is chosen. Nomi has always pushed the boundary of what women are allowed, even going so far as learning to read. When she makes a dangerous mistake, Serina takes the blame and is sent to a prison on a volcanic island where inmates fight to the death. Meanwhile, Nomi must learn to navigate the equally deadly political world she's suddenly alone in. The pace is quick, the ending promises a sequel, and the plot couldn't be more relevant. Buy an extra copy-this should find an audience. Grades 7-10. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Two sisters test the bounds of their personal hells in an oppressive monarchy. In a world where factory work, servitude, and marriage are women's only other options, Serina hopes desperately to be selected as a Grace, an attendant to the Heir and a model of submissive womanhood. But Serina's unruly younger sister, Nomi, while serving as her handmaiden, accidentally sets off a series of events that results in the girls' being cruelly separated and faced with challenges they are each particularly ill-equipped to handle. What follows, unfolding in split plotlines from each sister's perspective, is an entertaining, if predictable, riff on some of youth literature's most popular trends. From palace intrigue and requisite love triangles to dystopian survival challenges and gruesome death matches, Grace and Fury has it covered. A nod at diversity feels gratuitous. Nomi notes, "The Superior didn't seem to have a specific standard of beauty: Some Graces had dark skin, others ghostly w hite," but all of the primary characters read as white. The girls' ruminations on sisterly womanhood, while welcome enough, are a bit pat; unsurprisingly, Serina and Nomi must join forces with other women to effect change. And, of course, there's the ending that isn't—readers should know that resolution will be withheld over at least one more installment. Fine fodder for fans of the genre but look elsewhere for something fresh. (Fantasy. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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