(Gracie Faltrain #1)
Reviewed by Maggie: January 31, 2012
Published March 1, 2004 by Pan Macmillan Australia
Goodreads • Buy at Fishpond
I love reading debut novels. They're like the origins story of my superheroes -- authors. Cath Crowley wrote two of my favorite reads last year: A Little Wanting Song and Graffiti Moon. In her debut novel, The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain, you see the beginning of her style with multiple, alternating points of view of irresistible characters.
First, you have Gracie. Kickass soccer superstar on an all boys team. The problem isn't that she knows this, the problem is she knows it and lords her supremacy on the field over her teammates. This is usually where the standard "No I in team" speech comes, but Cath Crowley gives us something better: Martin Knight.
Martin Knight is the captain and Gracie's sole supporter on the team. The first time a timid, young Gracie approaches the team, he tells her, "Stick with me, Faltrain." This is where I turned into a puddle of goo. Every time Martin says something I turn into goo, but Gracie, of course, just rolls her eyes and then averts them to another guy who may be a jerk.
Nick. As if.
It wouldn't be a Crowley book without kooky, slight-to-moderately dysfunctional parents. Gracie's parents have the most awesome meet-cute ever, but Gracie's dad has been away on business for awhile, longer than necessary now that she thinks about it, and things don't seem so cute anymore.
Then, in addition to team and family tension, Gracie's BFF is moving to London. She's without her support system as she has the most hilariously horrible date ever.
It involves a tongue in the ear.
I loved Gracie & co. and I really liked this book. I wouldn't say it's on the same level as Graffiti Moon, but overall, it was a solid, enjoyable, funny read, let alone a debut! I just adore the way Cath Crowley writes. Some of my favorite quotes:
He looks like he wants to stuff what he's just said back in his mouth and swallow. I catch a tiny glimpse of his home life, scattered around us like little crumbs of sadness.
I've got a fist in my stomach; whenever I open my mouth it punches out at anyone who gets in my way.
The two best quotes are at the end, but they're a little spoilery so I didn't include them. It may involve a tongue in the ear.
Verdict: 4/5 stars and a hundred SQUEES!