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The Falconer

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  233 ratings  ·  88 reviews
“Coming-of-age in Manhattan may not have been done this brilliantly since Catcher in the Rye. That comparison has been made before, but this time, it’s true. Get ready to fall in love.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Falconer is a novel of huge heart and fierce intelligence. It has restored my faith in pretty much everything.” —Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestsel
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Atria Books
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Michelle I think for older teenagers it would be fine. I actually thought it was a young adult book until I saw your question and re-assessed! There is some…moreI think for older teenagers it would be fine. I actually thought it was a young adult book until I saw your question and re-assessed! There is some weed-smoking, underage drinking, and a tiny bit of sex. (less)

Community Reviews

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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  233 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Larry H
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Lucy is a high school student growing up in New York in 1993. She's a so-called "pizza bagel"—a mix of Jewish and Italian heritage. She's not afraid to speak her mind, even if it's to trash-talk, and she's a talented basketball player, comfortable playing among men and boys—and she knows she's good, too.

"I'm not just the leading scorer at my school, I'm the leading scorer in the entire league for two years running, which you would think would garner me the same amount of respect Percy gets. But
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christine by: GR Newsletter author interview
3.5 stars rounded to 4 stars

I read an intriguing interview about the author and the making of this book, which led to my requesting it from Net Galley. The author stated this is the book she wanted to read when she was a teen. It is very different from the usual books I pick up.

The protagonist is Lucy Adler, a very talented basketball player on the public courts in New York City. The story, set in 1993-1994, is a slice of life focused on Lucy’s 16th and 17th years and is told entirely from Lucy’
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: publisher-sent
Sometimes a book finds me that I would not have found by myself. That is how The Falconer by Dana Czapnik came into my life--as an unexpected package from the publisher.

Reading it was about a seventeen-year-old girl in 1993 New York City whose passion was basketball and who has a crush on her best friend Percy, I wondered if I would care for the book. Sure, there was advance praise from Column McCann, Salmon Rushdie, Chloe Benjamin--but could I relate to the story?

I opened the book and started r
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely beautiful coming of age novel set in Manhattan in the mid-90s. Lucy is an amazing protagonist; hopelessly in love with her best friend, an amazing athlete, learning about art, feminism, and the real world, and a character you fall in love with. Your heart will break for her, but you will also cheer on her small victories and the lessons she learns. A fabulous novel, one that will stay with me for a long time. I was sad to leave Lucy's world at the end, but excited to let her go and ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dana Czapnik has crafted a protagonist who is complex and multi-layered with a combination of heart-wrenching vulnerability and inspiring strength. Her novel draws the reader through the complexity of coming of age and the dirty and messy host of feelings and interpersonal interactions that go along with it. A superb first novel that could not be put down.
Ron S
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written coming of age tale about a 17 year old girl in early 90s NYC, obsessed with basketball and the unrequited love of her best friend. The praise rolling in from Salman Rushdie, Ann Pathcett and Rivka Galchen is deserved. I wish I'd had this book to give to my daughter in her teens while knowing she might enjoy it even more now, from her later perspective. Positive proof that the oldest stories in the world (e.g. coming of age) can be told with brilliance and verve countless time ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great young female centered story that takes places in the 1993. Great slice of life, growing up story.
Eric Buchwald
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not a book I would have normally picked up, as it is about a young woman high school basketball player, but I saw the blurbs, gave it a try, and it won me over. I really found myself caring about the protagonist and couldn't wait to see how she grew as a person and what happened to her. Feels like it should become something of a classic. Beautifully written, absorbing, and realistic. And the New York City scenes and the relationships are not cliches, but authentic.
Scott S.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I watch the sky above New York turn from gray to yellow to a dark blue. I take out the blue felt pen that's been stuck in my hair and on the bottom of the page I write: 'Lucy Adler exists for no one.'" -- Lucy

Another recent random selection from the library's new release shelf that also by good chance turned out to be a real winner. I curse 'The Kirkus Reviews' for already using what I was going to write in this review - that The Falconer, the debut novel by sports journalist Dana Czapnik, was
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Falconer is a story about a girl growing up in a particular space and time, the Upper West Side of New York City in the early 1990s. Whether or not that place and time speaks to you, the novel is really for anyone whose gone through the pain of growing up and having your illusions slowly, and sometimes all at once, shattered. If you've ever had the experience of discovering that the world is not exactly as you imagine it to be and that life is more complicated than the neat boxes we try to p ...more
Jonathan Braunstein
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We all have a period in our life, many of us in high school, where we think we’ve figured the whole thing out. (Or, at least, the part that doesn’t include relationships.) We see ourselves apart from the squares (or worse) that “run things” and wish only that they had our clarity of vision, for if they did, the world would be such a better place.
“The Falconer,” reminiscent of another famous back-pocket book, tells the story of that period of a young woman’s life as new experiences, triumphant a
Brian Platzer
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every part of The Falconer feels so real and -- though it takes place in the early '90s -- urgent. Lucy Adler is charismatic, engaging, and flawed in the way real people are. Czapnik's New York City is memorable and true. What a debut!
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Via my book blog at

Lucy Adler, better known by her friends as Loose, is a seventeen-year-old student who lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in l993. Lucy's love in life is two things, basketball, and Percy, her best friend since childhood. They now attend different private schools but spend most of their free time together, shooting hoops or playing in pick up games in Riverside Park.

Lucy is a wild child. She questions everything in life and chases af
Vicki (MyArmchairAdventures)
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
3.75 stars. Thank you Atria Books for sending me an early reading copy of The Falconer, due out in January 2019. I don't have much in common with the main character, Lucy Adler, a senior at a private high school in NYC who is half Italian and half Jewish (a self-proclaimed pizza bagel) and the best girl street baller in town. Regardless, I could identify with her and her frustration with the limitation society places on women. Some of Lucy's random musings seemed to appear just to make the book ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommend by one of my favorite book reviewers, NPR’s Maureen Corrigan. She did not steer me wrong.
I am not a sports person. Not even a little. My kids and grandkids know I cannot catch or throw a ball. Don’t even try.
This is a book about a girl who plays basketball. And yet I could relate to her. Basketball was made to seem poetic by the author.
When I was in high school the girl basketball players seemed so tough to me. So brave and strong. But seeing Lucy in this novel, maybe
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very well written book about the difficulties of being a smart, non traditional teenage girl. Set in New York in the 1990s, it captures that time and place beautifully. I kept wanting to either hug or applaud for Lucy and maybe both.
Dana Bundy
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book with a strong female protagonist. Loved her. She thinks. She reads. She dribbles. She loves. I want to read more books with characters like her. Can’t wait to read something else by Dana Czapnik.
Karen Osborne
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I totally fell in love with this book. Its depth and intelligence is deceptive because it reads so fast and is so much fun. I happen to love basketball, but though there are some basketball scenes, they're there to illustrate the protagonist and her development. Really though, the book is a philosophical meditation on the tough choices we have to make as women. Is loving a selfish guy anti-feminist? Should we be making practical choices in life, or should we follow our dreams... and is it even p ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
*Received an ARC of this from Atria Books*

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! My immediate impression was that this was going to be a fiction largely based around a girl playing basketball (sports aren't my thing), but it was so much more than that. I will admit that I glossed over large sections of text where the author gave play-by-plays of basketball games (because thank u), BUT! the focus of the story was less on "girl who plays sports" and more on "17 year old girl who is fig
Aaron Miller
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When someone first told me about this book I figured I would enjoy it because it was about basketball and I am sports fan. However, I LOVED this book. The sports element is great but the protagonist's journey through a year of high school during the 1990s in NYC brought back so many memories. I grew up around NYC and the imagery and references really reminded me of a different time in my life. It was beautifully written and I highly recommend this book.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, arc
Thanks to the publisher for sending me an advance copy for review!

Thoroughly enjoyed this well-written, thoughtful coming of age story. Lucy is a kind of "average" New York teenager- not incredibly wealthy, not living in poverty- who loves basketball and (secretly) her best friend Percy. It's her senior year of high school, and she's navigating the minefields of soon-to-be-an-adult relationships, college, basketball, friendships, etc. Set against the backdrop of the early/mid-90s, it's a time an
Michelle Olms
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book
Oct 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ----

I waited a bit to do this review b/c I wanted to be sure of what I had to say. This book had a few good lines here & there, but overall it didn't leave me feeling like I had come across some great thing, which is a shame. It wasn't flat out bad, however. Partly I failed to relate to it b/c there are enough sports references to bore the hell out of me. It'd be a better fit for gals who are already into sportsball type stuff

I received an ARC of The Falconer from the publisher, Atria Books, and the author, Dana Czapnik. A massive thank you to them.

Who are you? Who do you want to be? Who do you love? Why do you love them? In 1993 those are just a few of the questions plaguing Lucy. She is a street smart, trash talking baller, who is in love with her friend Percy, and trying to figure out what gives meaning to her life.

While I overall enjoyed reading this book, it was sort of bland and I felt it needed a lot of work.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Thanks to @atriabooks for sharing The Falconer by Dana Czapnik with me! It follows Lucy Adler, a seventeen-year-old tomboy “pizza bagel” which apparently means a mix of Jewish and Italian heritage, who is a star basketball player at her school, has an unrequited crush on her best friend/rich-boy Percy, as she goes through her senior year of high school in NYC.

This book didn’t really have a plot? It just kind of follows Lucy around the streets of NYC as she goes about her life. I’m oka
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply brilliant. Debut author Dana Czapnik writes with an incredible command of the language, each chapter reading like an vignette that shows how spunky, 17-year-old Lucy Adler grapples with growing up in NYC in the early 90s. My experience with YA novels is limited, but I valued the sophistication of her prose and the universal themes she depicts—specifically identity and gender—and how these factors affect Lucy’s coming-of-age in our patriarchal society. Women of all ages will enjoy this boo ...more
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A heartfelt coming of age story!
I LOVED this book!
Lucy is such a wonderful protagonist! She is so witty and bright. I really fell for her character. I was hopeful for her and at times heartbroken too. I thought the time period and setting of this novel were perfect,
NYC in the 90's! This isn't a book I would normally have picked up because I dont typically enjoy stories about teens, but the blurb sounded intriguing and honestly I didnt want this book to end. I read it quickly, it was really har
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sharp and electric debut about growing up in NYC from the POV of an Italian Jewish female basketball player who is in love with her popular but rakish male best friend. It talks about life, love, art, basketball, opportunities, and longings. It’s pitch perfect for Gen X-ers.

Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories. After all, Catcher in the Rye and Black Swan Green are up there with my favorite books. This was absolutely marvelous. If you're, like me, at an age when you can still vividly remember your teen years, then this book is for you.
Jayne Gerdeman Homsher
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Falconer is an interesting read for women sports participants. I grew up loving sports and playing sports when I could on a farm. If you are a city girl growing up and you played basketball on urban courts get involved in this novel. The feelings of the author about sports can be felt in her writing and the character is very developed to a person I want to know even more about hopefully in future writings. Would have loved even more strong characters introduced and more adventures.
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Dana Czapnik is a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Fiction from The New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2017, she was awarded an Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Center for Fiction. Czapnik earned her MFA at Hunter College where she was recognized with a Hertog Fellowship. She’s spent most of her career on the editorial side of professional sports including stints at ESPN the Magazine, the Un ...more
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