4.0 15
by Elizabeth Scott

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Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but

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Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.

Told in spare, powerful prose by acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they've reached the final page.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Grace is an Angel, a suicide bomber, chosen for this fate at an early age by her father. Grace was born into a war-torn society, where children are raised on hate and ideology and are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. On one side are "the People," who live in the Hills and pray to the Saints; on the other is "Keran Berj," both a place and a dictator, who believes he's been given absolute power by God. Through this dystopian world, Scott (Living Dead Girl) explores the hopelessness, fear, and anger of children forced to live in a time of conflict, who are caught between two sides fighting equally extremist causes, and, as a result, feel similarly righteous about their mission to eliminate each other. Though beautifully written and undeniably jarring, Grace's story as a failed Angel is confusing at times. Scott keeps readers in the dark about Grace's background and the events leading up to her current situation, but rather than building tension, this uncertainty lessens it. Nonetheless, it's an emotional meditation on a timely topic. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Rachelle Bilz
Grace begins with a teenage girl on a train, traveling across a desert. As the girl, Grace, describes her disguise and how she came to be on the train, it is obvious that her life is in peril. Grace makes references to her past, gradually revealing to the reader intriguing parts of a puzzle that come together as the grim story of her life. In a dystopian future, Grace's country has split into two factions. Keran Berj heads the totalitarian government that rules the City and its people with an iron fist. In the Hills, dwell the People, religious zealots who believe the Saints watch over them. Grace had been with the People and was trained to be an Angel. Sold to Angel House by her drunken father, Grace and the other girls there are raised to be suicide bombers. When Grace fails in her mission to kill an important member of the City's government, she must flee or face death from both factions. For her escape to the border, Grace is paired with a City boy, Jerusha. As these two survivors of horrific events get to know each other, they realize that both factions are essentially manipulative and evil. Although broken by the past, Grace and Jerusha join together to form an alliance of hope for the future. Scott's precisely written novel offers a gritty, distressing look at what happens when people have no freedom. Strong and affecting, this story will appeal to high school students. Reviewer: Rachelle Bilz
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, MA
Kirkus Reviews
In a hellish country ruled by megalomaniac Keran Berj, Grace has been raised by the People, a freedom-fighting sect dedicated to the overthrow of Keran Berj, to be an Angel. Like the rest of the girls in Angel House, Grace trained for the sacred day when she would strap on a bomb in front of a political target and blow herself up. But Grace has never truly felt like a child of the People, and when the moment of truth comes, she chooses not to die—though she still sets off her bomb in the village square. Now she's on the run from her own people and from Keran Berj's. This brief, atmospheric novella follows Grace's train journey to the border of Keran Berj's country. Accompanied by the strange boy Kerr, Grace contemplates her own past, that of her homeland and the choices that led her to this moment. Moody and compelling, without the easy moralizing so common in dystopian settings. (Science fiction. 12-14)

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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Grace 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Scott may be known for her ability to write lighthearted romantic books with these incredibly realistic characters, but she can certainly do dark just as well. Grace tells the story of a suicide bomber who decides that she doesn't want to die. Defying the People and the beliefs that have been instilled in her mind her entire life is beyond anguishing for her. Grace feels shame towards herself for not whole-heartedly believing in the life she was raised to have. A girl born to die. The world that she lives in may not be so unlike our own. It's a terrifying fact, but our world is centered around power, as is Grace's. The power that one man possesses can destroy the lives of many and Grace lives that everyday. On her journey for freedom, Grace encounters a young man about her age. The things she learns from him are insurmountable compared to the things she has been taught in the past. A few days and a train ride give her the startling realization that the People that raised her and proclaimed she was born to die, may not be all that better than the Keran Berj, the man ruling the land ruthlessly, ordering death with the twitch of a hand. Elizabeth Scott has surprised me once again with this shockingly and potentially, plausibly, maybe even probably, realistic take on suicide bombers and the pain they harbor inside of them. Grace is young and should be innocent, but that is all taken from her. Stolen. And after everything that she has gone through, all she wants is life. I don't think that's too much to ask for, but in her world, it's unthinkable. Unforgivable. Shameful. The writing style is so unique here because the sentences are clipped, succinct, and completely direct. The near lack of dialogue surprised me at first, but it feels right. To truly understand what Grace is going through, we need to be in her head, knowing her thoughts and feeling her emotions. Much of the book is introspective and it's despairing to see how much Grace has gone through in such a short time. It's unlikely that I'll ever forget Grace and her struggle for life. Grace is a haunting tale of a world filled with death and destruction; Sacrifice and pain. Nothing is quite as it seems and the Angels in this world are harbingers of death disguised as young girls. It's a story of a girl struggling to survive, but also about a bigger picture. A picture that depicts a war that has no winners and no right and wrong, only the lives lost along the way. This story will make you open your eyes to both sides of war and make you see the innocent people caught in the middle. Opening line: I'm afraid my hair is showing. ~ pg. 3 Favorite line(s): Sometimes, I don't think there is anything beyond what is here, what is now. I think that maybe beyond this world - this train, this desert we are passing through, this heat swelling all around - there is nothing. ~ pg. 28 To be so young and so cruel - he was the end of the world made flesh. ~ pg. 114
ReadingTeen More than 1 year ago
3.5 out of 5 Well, where to begin with this book.... It was disturbing. It's hard for me to read a book like this because I really do read to escape into another world, and this world hits way too close to home. Not my home, but the home of so many in the world today. Yes, this is a dystopian, but there are far too many similarities to countries that actually exist now to ignore. This book was like taking North Korea, Nazi Germany, and Al Qaeda and shoving them together in one crazy, messed-up country. In fact, about halfway through the book, I was so depressed that I almost quit reading it. If it hadn't been such a short read, I probably would have. HOWEVER! I am really glad that I didn't give up. I don't want you to think the writing was bad, or that the story wasn't interesting, because that isn't the case at all. It was just really a downer for me. But, sometimes you need a good dose of reality to make you think about this world and just how badly things can get messed up. The scary thing about Grace, is that it seems so unrealistic and far-fetched that a country can be so horrific....but it isn't really far-fetched at all. We've seen it in history, and we continue to see it now. And something I think that Grace brings to light is how, when faced with something we don't agree with on one side of the pendulum, we often swing so far to the other side that we're just as wrong as the people we were opposing. This is demonstrated by the People, who are a group of "freedom fighters" struggling against the evil dictatorship that has taken over their country. They are so busy fighting against this evil, that they cease to see the evil they themselves are introducing to the world. Namely, raising young girls (Angels) to infiltrate the regime and blow up a bomb, killing themselves and as many of the "enemy" as possible, including women, children, and anyone else who happens to be there. The first half of the book switches back and forth between the past and the present while Grace is on a train, trying to escape the wrath of her country, who view her as a terrorist, and of the People, who aren't pleased with her abandoned mission and see her as a coward. The second half of the book actually got pretty exciting and interesting as Kerr and Grace find out more about each other, and Grace begins to see just how hypocritical her thoughts and beliefs are. The world that Elizabeth Scott has borrowed, twisted, and molded is a terrifying one, and one that I won't be able to forget reading about for a long time. ~Andye (
ReadingAngel002 More than 1 year ago
This review is going to be hard to write so please forgive me if it isn't exactly wonderful. Grace was a really tough subject matter to read about. The thought of a young girl being raised to believe that her whole life and purpose is to be a herald of death. To think that it will bring her glory to go out and kill herself and others in a bomb explosion is difficult for me to process. I cringed almost the whole time I was reading this book. The book starts with Grace being on the train as she runs away from the community where she grew up, all because she decided she wanted to live. As the story goes along her past, and why she ran away from it, is revealed. Also, the boy she is traveling with reveals his past, and I don't want to give anything away, but it was gruesome and just as hard to read as Grace's tragic life. The writing was beautiful, but I just couldn't get past the subject matter to the point where I could say that I loved it. All I know is that I will be glad to read more by Elizabeth Scott, but I never want to read about this type of subject matter again!
KLBCHOICES More than 1 year ago
Grace's body was never her own. Raised as an Angel (a messenger and nothing more), she belonged to the People. She was supposed to die by suicide bomb at age seventeen, but she chose to live. Now, she's on a train she's not supposed to be on fearing for her life. Will she make it to the border, so she can finally be free? Grace was a girl who couldn't be brainwashed. Unlike other Angels, she questioned the things she was taught. There was a way of life - or death, really - she was expected to accept, but she didn't have a heart to be one of the People. She called herself weak, but she was courageous. Grace learned some important things while on that train; lessons taught by someone she never thought anything good could ever come from - her traveling companion, Kerr. I didn't feel good about him for a while there, but it turned out he wasn't the person I thought he was. This story was interesting but it wasn't the emotional read I thought it was going to be. Just thinking of the word `terrorist' I expected more action or scenes that made me flinch. I'm guessing that if Keran Berj (a dictator the People did not follow) had a voice, it would have been that type of story. It is, however, very well-written. When Scott described what could have happened to Grace if she would have stayed with the bomb, the words were poetic. I was so impressed by the writing that I couldn't be sad. But then I read the sentence again. That time it hit me. I got a visual and it was heartbreaking. There were other parts that saddened me and I felt for Grace to the very end.
kittydanza More than 1 year ago
GRACE, by Elizabeth Scott, is a quick dystopian read that will keep you thinking about it for days after. The synopsis on the ARC I received did not do this book justice. When I read "Angel" I think white wings, pure heart, and fighting for the good guys. This book was the farthest thing away from my initial idea. The Angels in this book are chosen to be suicide bombers in a society that is ruled by a dictator. Our fearful heroine does the unthinkable and lives after her mission is complete. She tries to escape from her past and finds many surprises along the way. Scott's prose was very moving and I loved how she weaved snippets of Grace's life during the main story of her escape. Although my expectations weren't met from my initial reaction of the story, I thought this was a great book and so beautifully written. The plot is horrible to think about but it definitely brings out emotion in each precise word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this one of those novels that gets stuck on the big topics and forget to tell a story? Because Im not sure if I should buy it or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was good. I liked the writing style.
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Prince_of_Fantasy More than 1 year ago
"This dystopian novel was a page turner[. . .]but I minded several things." -To read my full-length, detailed review visit my book blog at