Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: Gracie Faltrain Takes Control by Cath Crowley

Gracie Faltrain Takes Control by Cath Crowley
(Gracie Faltrain #2)
Reviewed by Noelle and Maggie: March 15, 2012
Published March 1, 2006 by Pan Macmillan Australia
Goodreads • Buy at Fishpond 

Gracie is back and...going through some growing pains.  She is facing new bruising competition on the soccer field, Jane has gone radio silent, Alyce needs a serious social intervention and then there's that problem of Martin's mom staying MIA....Gracie won't be sitting on the sidelines for this one.  She's got the solutions to everyone's problems, whether they know it or not!

Noelle: Thank goodness for the final book in this series' title or else I would have completely bit off all of my fingernails reading this installment! Gracie is the same lovable, exasperating, headstrong, force to be reckoned with she was in The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain but cranked up to a million.  I loved how Cath Crowley made Gracie such a TEENAGER with the selfishness and self-centeredness of adolescence and the good intentions of someone who thinks they have it all figured out.  The way Gracie's problems and solutions took precedent over any other viewpoints was perfect teenage tunnel-vision. Doesn't everyone know it all at age 16?  But boy, did Gracie run that fine line of the end justifying the means (at full-speed dribbling a soccer ball)!

Maggie: She was a total steamroller, but with the best intentions! That's the part I really related to. Like, she adores Alyce, who is now her best friend, and wants other people to love her too. AT ALL COSTS. Even Alyce's. I totally saw Gracie and Alyce as the Grade 11 version of Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins from Parks and Recreation. Alyce likes a boy?
Gracie has been playing with and against the boys since she was in Grade 7, so I understood how her me-against-the-world mentality seeped into all aspects of her life. I loved the dynamic between Gracie and her nemesis, Annabelle.

Noelle: Exactly! You still root for Gracie because even when you're reading from behind your fingers out of second-hand embarrassment, you know her domineering decision making is coming from a good place.  You can't look away even though you know it might get ugly.  I love how Gracie's misguided meddling just multiplied until you just knew that when the other shoe dropped it would register on the Richter scale.  And did it ever.  Once I saw that Gracie wouldn't be able to escape the aftermath unscathed I was so excited to see her character growth.

Maggie: I think if you went through the status updates of everyone who read this book, you'd see the exact moment (32%) where everyone goes, "Noooooooooo!" It's like the part in Knife of Never Letting Go -- you know which part.

Noelle:  I honestly never expected Ness-like stress levels in a Gracie Faltrain book! I was so unprepared.

Maggie: I think that's also the make or break moment for people reading this book. The ratings are all over the place, and even with us, you gave it 3.5 stars whereas I gave it 5.

Noelle: I went back and forth between 3.5 stars and 4 stars for almost a week after reading it.   I think I was almost overly invested in Gracie as a character because I took some of her decisions so personally that I had trouble forgiving her even though I understood why she did it. 

Maggie: I love that Cath Crowley took Gracie there, to the point of nearly being unforgivable because it felt real and true to Gracie's character. She needs to touch the hot stove to know not to touch it.

Noelle: After reading the final book and loooooving it, I value what happened in this installment so much more. The effect is so worth the cause in this case.  In the end, I decided to round up and give Gracie Faltrain Takes Control 4 stars.  I'm really interested in seeing what you think of the final book of the series, Maggie.

Maggie: I can't wait. I'm trying to hold off -- okay, hold off a little at least -- because after this, I'll have read every book Crowley has written. And there isn't a release date set for Howling Boy yet. I love Gracie's world though. We haven't even discussed Martin yet! Martin is seriously in my Top 5 crushes. What made this book 5 stars for me was that all the actions, however unlikable, felt true to the characters. I can't wait to see where the story goes in Book 3. ....................................... Okay, held off enough. Starting now.

Noelle gave it 4/5 stars
Maggie gave it 5/5 stars


  1. I need to read this series. It looks so so good and who am I to resist a book that not one but two of my favourite reviewers love?!
    WHO AM I? I ask you.

    So yes, I need to read this series but I also need to catch a flight to America and be real life best friends with you two.

    I love banter, ladies. More reviews like this, please!

    1. As a talking horse once said, SUBMIT. :) This really is a great series.

      And yessssss! You won't even NEED a coat in either LA or FL, Jo! Come!


    2. Do it, Jo. DOOOOOOO ITTTTTTTTT. --N

  2. Why doesn't Howling Boy have a release date? WHY? And, I'm with Jo - I love these back and forth reviews!

  3. Now I know I really need to read this, I must make time for this series! I really loved your combo-review, very fun!

  4. You guys are like totally too cute together. I saw this series and thought it might be too young for me... but now I am convinced I will adore it :)


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