Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Carla's Thoughts: The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain by Cath Crowley

Published 1 March 2004
Pan Macmillan Australia

Gracie Faltrain is doing fine. Her soccer team is off to the national championships, she's just about to capture the boy of her dreams and she's well on the way to being 'in' at school. But Gracie is about to learn that life is not always fair.

First her best friend Jane leaves the country. Then there's an unfortunate event involving her tongue and her dream-boy's ear, which makes her a laughing-stock at school. When she finds out that the boys don't want her on the soccer team any more, she thinks life can't get any worse, but she's wrong. Her parents have news of the worst possible kind.

Within days, Gracie is floundering. No friends, no soccer, no love-life - and perhaps no family - add up to one confused and angry Gracie. Is there anything she can do to make things better, or should she just resign herself to her new screwed-up life?

There is something pretty special about reading the debut novel of one of your favourite authors, it's almost like you're getting a glimpse at the roots of their talent; you can see where everything that come after has stemmed from and how much they've grown as a writer. And Gracie Faltrain is no exception. I was almost giddy with infatuation, just getting to read Cath's first published novel with the knowledge of what her writing style and execution has evolved into.

Gracie is the only girl on an all boys (duh) soccer team and she rocks it. She is a badass super talented player and the team would be nothing without her. And she knows it. To put it bluntly, she is an insufferable hot head who likes to flaunt her talent and undeniable skill over every player on the field. Let the BFF charms rain down on her inflated head because I LOVE YOU GRACIE. Even when I wanted to give you a sharp kick in the shins because girl makes some really questionable decisions. She is pushy and doesn't know what the back the hell off but she is quite possibly my favourite Crowley girl, and not just because she could introduce me to Martin Knight, but because she is authentic and annoying and all kinds of amazing. 

Martin Knight. 'Stick with me, Faltrain' MARTIN KNIGHT. 

I know what you're thinking 'a book about soccer? lolololol what is this, Bend it like Beckham?' I am going to sound really cliche here and say, this isn't a book about soccer. Sure, soccer has a really major part in the plot and is instrumental to the story line BUT this is a Cath Crowley book. She can make a soccer flying through the air sound like poetry. She has a way with words that with bamboozle your mind and boggle your senses. Told through multiple narratives, we switch from Gracie to members of her soccer team to her parents. YES, her parents and let me tell you, I gulped them down like they was water and I was dying of thirst in the desert.

To say this is a debut novel is mind bending. Crowley crafts a story about soccer that isn't really about soccer at all.  The intricacies of her character development and a fast paced plot line full of hilarious incidents and the FUNNIEST date in the history of all the books ever, make this a debut that I hope everyone has a chance to experience. 

p.s. yesterday I did a post on TEABS (The End of an Awesome Book Syndrome) which is what i experienced when I finished the Gracie books - in short, they turned me into an emo head case with abandonment issues.


  1. OMG, I want this. I want it real hard. DAMN YOU, AUSTRALIANS for not sharing your awesome books! *shakes fist*

    I do know Australians can't get tons of books so that's not fair, but I wants it. *whimpers*

  2. A thousand times yes to everything you said, Carla!! Martin Knight forever!


  3. I have been meaning to get back to your review since yesterday when I saw you wrote this. WHY IS EVERYTHING SO BUSY? I love going back and checking out the debuts of authors I love + I must get my hands on a copy somehow! Thanks for the great review!

  4. I'm VERY interested in reading this book, because HELLO, it's Cath Crowley! Plus, your awesome TEABS post has convinced me that it's a must-read.

  5. I haven't read this book yet, but I've been meaning to ever since I heard Cath Crowley talk at the Melbourne Writers Festival a few years back. She's doing very well out here in Australia. About two years ago she won the Prime Minister's Award for Literature for her novel "Graffiti Moon".


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  6. you are such an aussie book crusader. you put me to shame (especially here, as i have even borrowed this from my library a few times and returned it unread :/ All of a sudden i am dying to get it back in my hands again.

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  11. I love the series. The last one was the best. I just keep reading them because i love soccer and would love to play for the matildas :)

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  12. Cath Crowley is truly one of Australia's finest YA authors. `Gracie Faltrain' is a series with a lot of heart; exploring the pitfalls and soars of high school through the wonderfully fumbling Gracie Faltrain. If you loved `Graffiti Moon' and `Chasing Charlie Duskin', then be assured that Cath Crowley has been writing on a role since way back in 2004.

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  13. I enjoyed this SO much! :D It was just so wonderfully Australian, and had the feel of so many wonderful kids' TV shows I grew up watching... I really think the ABC should jump on the Gracie Faltrain wagon asap! I'd watch that!

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  15. Cath Crowley is truly one of Australia's finest YA authors. `Gracie Faltrain' is a series with a lot of heart; exploring the pitfalls and soars of high school through the wonderfully fumbling Gracie Faltrain. If you loved `Graffiti Moon' and `Chasing Charlie Duskin', then be assured that Cath Crowley has been writing on a role since way back in 2004. . .

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  22. This is a really lovely, emotive first novel. Funny. Fresh. Wonderfully distinctive voice. What makes the novel special falls away near the end as the novel heads towards its fairly unsurprising, run-of-the-mill movie finish, but this doesn't detract too much and I have to remember this is a "kids book".

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