Growing Up Gracie by Maggie Fechner

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:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Bonneville
  • ISBN-10: 1599554534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599554532
  • SRP:  $15.99

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    Interview with Maggie Fechner, Author of Growing Up Gracie

    Joining us today is Maggie Fechner author of the young adult novel,  Growing Up Gracie. Maggie wrote her first book in First Grade for the Young Author’s program. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and has worked as a reporter for several newspapers.

    Thank you for joining us today Maggie. Can you please tell us about yourself?

    I am a wife and mother who loves to eek out a little extra time to write. I also enjoy portrait photography, boating, and being with my family. I am an obsessive hobbiest and when I get involved in something I have a hard time focusing on anything else.

    When did you get bit by the writing bug?

    I have been writing since a young age. My mom helped me make my first “book” with a wrapping paper cover when I was only four. I carried that love of writing into college and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. I worked as a newspaper reporter before quitting to be a full-time mom. Since then I have gone back and forth with writing as much as I can.

    Why did you decide to write stories for young adults?

    I decided to gear this book toward young adults because “Gracie,” my main character, struggled with feeling average and ordinary. To me, the teenage years are the time we struggle with these feelings the most.

    Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

    No, I feel connected with this age group because the memories of my own teenage years are still fresh in my mind.

    What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

    I love that this book can be picked up and read in a few days and resonate with many teenagers, specifically girls. My hope is that my readers would recognize themselves in Gracie and know that even an ordinary life can become extraordinary.

    Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

    Growing up Gracie is the story of an average girl sandwiched in the middle of five siblings. Her family is LDS (or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The book shares her journey toward finding what makes her unique, finding that true friendships are paramount, and finding a beautiful enduring love.

    What inspired you to write it?

    When I first sat down to write this book I had an infant baby girl and I wanted her to know that Heavenly Father has made each of us unique and wonderful. I was inspired to let her know she could accomplish anything.

    Where can readers purchase a copy?

    In Deseret Bookstores across Utah and Southern Idaho. Online at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon, Deseret Book, and Cedar Fort.

    Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more?

    My author’s blog is

    What is up next for you?

    I am in the very early stages of a second novel in the Fremont Family Series (of which Growing Up Gracie will be the first).
    I am also currently nearing a finished rough draft on a mainstream historical fiction novel.

    Thanks for spending time with us today. We wish you all the best.

    Note: Look for my review of Growing Up Gracie, coming soon!

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