Growing Up Gracie by Maggie Fechner is a coming-of-age story many teens will enjoy.
Gracie Fremont is the fifth of six kids growing up in Cody, Wyoming. She struggles to find her place in the world and what exactly makes her special. Committed to, yet, unsure in her faith, Gracie searches for answers. As she matures from child to young woman, Gracie discovers that with Divine guidance, even an ordinary girl from Cody, Wyoming can lead an extraordinary life.
This is a charming story of one girl finding her place and learning to seek God’s guidance in her daily life. I especially enjoyed how Fechner created Gracie’s tiny circle of friends, and how their relationships evolved over the years. She also created a fine picture for the reader of life in Cody, Wyoming and the daily life in a LDS community.
The pace of this story burbles along like a country stream, flowing well with the overall setting of Growing Up Gracie and the lives of its characters. Fechner did not spare Gracie many disappointments, but she also gave her glorious triumphs.
The one challenge I had with the book is that it covered so many years in Gracie’s life, I felt characters got lost from time to time. The book opens with Gracie and her best friend Liza Roberts playing hide-and-seek in Liza’s home. Gracie is five. By the next chapter she is seven and meets Chelsea Copeland for the first time. Chelsea, Liza, and Gracie are as thick as thieves and their adventures are often mentioned in the pages that follow, as are the changes in Gracie’s home. But at some point, Chelsea drops off the radar and she isn’t mentioned for a while. I’m left wondering what happened to her. Did she move away? Did the girls have a fight?
A similar thing happens to Cade. It seems these two were being set up for a long friendship, but then Cade disappears and we only hear about him one other time after several years have passed, even though it appears he still lives in Cody. And then there is Quentin. Gracie befriends him in wood shop. He becomes a big part of the book. Something happens between them–which I’m definitely not going to share–but then poof, he’s gone for a bit. When I looked back, Quentin was only gone for around 20 pages, but the pace of the book made it seem longer.
I kept trying to figure out what this book was like, and it kind of reminded me of the hit family drama, The Wonder Years, starring Fred Savage. The narrator is an older and wiser Gracie sharing the story of her childhood. The prologue kind of threw me for a minute because it takes place when Gracie is obviously a young woman, and then in Chapter One she is five. Overall it was a wonderful story and I might read it again to see if I have a different impression of how the passage of time impacts the plot.
If you’re looking for a story that combines family, friendship, and faith, Growing Up Gracie by Maggie Fechner would be a good choice.
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂