The Whole of My World

Nicole Hayes

The Whole of My World
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The Whole of My World

Nicole Hayes

Today I am free. No guilt for who’s missing, what’s been left behind. My face aches from smiling in the wind and my voice rasps from all the screaming, and I know that it’s been forever since I’ve felt so completely alive.

Desperate to escape her grieving father and harbouring her own terrible secret, Shelley disappears into the intoxicating world of Aussie Rules football. Joining a motley crew of footy tragics - and, best of all, making friends with one of the star players - Shelley finds somewhere to belong. Finally she’s winning.

So why don’t her friends get it? Josh, who she’s known all her life, but who she can barely look at anymore because of the memories of that fateful day. Tara, whose cold silences Shelley can’t understand. Everyone thinks there’s something more going on between Shelley and Mick. But there isn’t - is there?

When the whole of your world is football, sometimes life gets lost between goals.

Review

AFL has always been a huge part of Shelley’s life, from going to local games to analysing every part of the Glenthorn Football Club’s performance, the team she is passionate about. But then the accident happens and everything changes. With a father who’s just barely functioning and a secret that’s breaking her heart, Shelley throws herself even further into the game she loves.

Leaving behind the awkwardness of her old school and beginning afresh at St Mary’s Catholic Ladies College, Shelley meets Tara, a fellow Glenthorn fan, who introduces Shelley to the world of fanatics. Shelley starts watching the players train and joins a cheer squad to help rally them on the weekend. And when a friendship blossoms with one of the club’s new stars, Shelley begins to feel like life is getting back on track, just as long as Glenthorn can keep winning.

This is a brilliant coming-of-age story about family, tragedy and the power of AFL. I’m beyond thrilled that someone has finally given us a well-written, fun yet serious novel about girls who love our great game. I loved it.

Recommended for ages 13 and up.


Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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