Why would Grace Johnson, a bright, African-American high school senior, save the life of a Ku Klux Klansman named Jonathan Gilmore?
That question hovers over Grace's hometown of Vigilant, Michigan, and few people, black or white, understand her actions-especially since rumor has it that many years ago, a member of the Gilmore family murdered several African-American residents. And if Grace had her way, she would not reveal the circumstances that led her to make what some deem to be a foolish sacrifice and an act of treason against her race.
The decision to remain silent, however, is not Grace's to make, for the spirit of her ancestors have emerged and insist, in ways Grace cannot ignore, that she bear witness to the violent racial history that continues to divide the town of Vigilant. But when Grace discovers a century-old tale of a bloodsoaked, eye-for-eye vengeance that includes the mysterious death of her own father, she questions whether she has the ability and the will to accept the mind-bending spiritual challenge in front of her.
As Grace reluctantly embarks on the unlikeliest of journeys and into the magical world of the African-American traditions used by her ancestors to fight slavery and oppression, she undergoes a spiritual transformation that leads to the true nature of her calling: to lead Jonathan Gilmore, the town of Vigilant and her own soul on a path toward reconciliation, redemption and true grace.
What a compelling novel! Grace was a wonderful character, with her flaws, because of a mother who was strict and unyielding, and as a result of that, Grace turned to excessive amounts of food, though this added a bit of perpetuation with her mom berating her over that, and over and over it went.
She is told by her dying great-grandmother that she's got this destiny, this responsibility, this job to resolve issues that ghosts leave behind, like a relative who because his sister is raped, kills the guy who raped her, and that was like adding gasoline to the already big fire, and there was a lot of conflict, and after the big explosion, there was still embers and bursts of flame from time to time, like the murder of her dad. And then Grace has to work to make peace for it all. And that's why she saved the guy.
The bit of mystery with who kidnapped and murdered young children through the middle of the book was heart-breaking, thought it wasn't much of a mystery, Grace knew it had to be the family, and he got what he deserved, doing what he thought was a death-bed confession, and then living.
This was an amazing book with great characters, and yeah, I really enjoyed it! Check it out!
Author: Karen Simpson
Read: February 9th, 2012
Source: Pump Up Your Books Review Copy
Reason Why: Sounded really good, and it's a A-Z Book Challenge mini challenge book!
Publisher: Plenary Publishing
Published: March 1st 2011
Karen Simpson, author of Act of Grace, lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She earned a Masters Degree in Historic Preservation at Eastern Michigan University. An avid historian, her speculative fiction is base on African American folklore and history. The 2011 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards recently recognized her novel Act of Grace as the gold medalist in the Young Adult Religion/Spirituality category. The novel also received a nomination for the 2012 Amelia Bloomer Project booklist, an ALA list for books with significant feminist content for young people.
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