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The Falconer

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,757 ratings  ·  441 reviews
New York, 1993. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler, a street-smart, trash-talking baller, is often the only girl on the public courts. At turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed, Lucy is in unrequited love with her best friend and pick-up teammate Percy, scion to a prominent New York family who insists he wishes to resist upper crust fate.

As she navigates this c
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Atria Books
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Dana Czapnik Since I get this question asked a lot at readings, I thought I'd answer it here. When I wrote the novel, I did not think about the Y.A. category becau…moreSince I get this question asked a lot at readings, I thought I'd answer it here. When I wrote the novel, I did not think about the Y.A. category because if you're writing for children, a necessary component of that is being conscientious about the kind of messages kids might get while reading. I only wanted to think about Lucy Adler and her truth while I wrote. Yet, I really hoped young people would read The Falconer. When people ask me if the book is appropriate for their child, I usually say that a sophisticated 14-15 year old can handle it, but I'd mostly recommend it for 16 and over. Especially for those kids who are beginning to dabble in western philosophy (and/or feminist theory). As for the nitty gritty of appropriateness: There's sex & drugs, but they're portrayed realistically. Nothing glamorous, nihilistic, nor judgemental. (less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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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’
Emer (A Little Haze)
There's something so life changing about being seventeen. Being both knowledgeable and naïve. Seeing the world as both beautiful and utterly screwed up.

The Falconer follows a year in the life of seventeen year old Lucy as she comes of age in 1993/4 in New York. I loved how Lucy was super smart and incisive about social issues but was pretty much a hopeless wreck when it came to figuring out her heart. It's that juxtaposition of knowledge and innocence that makes this a captivating read.

Lucy is
Susan's Reviews
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved THE FALCONER. This novel fairly explodes with quote-worthy writing: Dana Czapnik is an extremely talented author. I started off by writing out a few memorable lines on my scratchpad, then I was forced to open a folder on my desktop and I started snipping entire pages - her writing is that good.

This is not just a story about young Lucy, who is searching for herself and her place in the world. The FALCONER is about the choices we make - and their consequences, the sacrifices req
Andrew Smith
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, y-a
Lucy Adler is a seventeen-year-old who loves basketball. And she’s talented, often outshining and out muscling those she plays against. She’s at home on the asphalt public courts of NYC, either playing as part of a team, with and against a group of boys, or one-on-one with her friend (and crush) Percy. She loves her city but she’ll most likely leave it soon to attend college and wonders whether she’ll love it from afar as much as she does right here and now.

This is a coming of age tale in which
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
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
lucky little cat
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to lucky little cat by: Entertainment Weekly Book Reviews, the big liars
Not remotely "the new Catcher in the Rye " as it's been hyped.

Instead, imagine every 90s cliché but Lisa Frank pencils shoehorned into one book. And while it's no threat to Salinger, it is a nice quiet YA novel about coming of age in 1990s NYC, which apparently consisted of a lot of pickup basketball games. Life was apparently simpler then.

keywords: clubbing in borrowed clothes; friend-zoned for life; unwilling makeover victim; another Xer scarred for life by watching the Challenger explo
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019
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
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves-of-2019
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
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I accidentally ordered two copies of this for my library and because I have a weird guilt complex and worried no one would check it out, I did. And it was really good. I do love a good coming-of-age story. And this is literary without ever feeling inaccessible. And I mean the last line...
"Where to go? Where to go?
Girl. Wherever the fuck you want."
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
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
This is the most poetic, energetic and vibrant coming of age novel I've ever read. I won't forget about this one - probably ever - and Lucy will stay with me for a long time.

She is an unapologetic teen in NYC, she's tough and observant, she's shy and insecure, but she is so wise beyond her years that it makes you want to gather her up and tell her to - just be. To not think so much. But it's her thoughts that command this dazzling debut. She sees so much beauty in NYC while simultaneously savor
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.
Christiane (Pages Unfolding)
This debut novel by Dana Czapnik is not easy to review as there are aspects to love, things to hate, and parts that made me feel confused.

The first thing I'm struggling with is its genre. It was offered as an ARC by the publisher in the category "General Fiction (Adult)." It's protagonist Lucy Adler is a seventeen-year-old girl from New York City who loves playing basketball and a boy who's out of reach. While I wouldn't call it a typical Young Adult novel, I'd certainly recommend it for a youn
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
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. ...more
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Maybe your reaction to this coming of age story depends on what you think about Lucy. Personally, I couldn’t stand her. She’s a pretentious, know-it-all teenaged girl obsessed with basketball and her friend Percy, who is not mutually obsessed. I don’t think there’s a plot, there is just a string of very strong opinions and observations of New York City. Others seem to like the book, but I didn’t get very far. Just not for me. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
The Falconer by Dana Czapnik is an interesting take on a female high school basketball phenom (Lucy) trying to navigate her way through life. She is Italian/Jewish and often feels the only place she truly fits in is on the courts. She is in love with her best friend (Percy), a rich WASP destined for Harvard if for no other reason than his father has connections. Lucy is drawn to a statue called "The Falcon" in which a young boy is on his tip toes, reaching up with both arms and releasing a falco ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
In my senior year of college I took a fiction writing class, and there was a girl in my workshop who had the most beautiful style of writing. Packed with sensory details and emotional appeal, her writing never felt rushed, but would establish a setting with languor. I was so envious of her talent because I lacked the patience and concentration necessary to focus on all of those tiny details.

Dana Czapnik's writing reminds me of that student's. This book is a love letter to New York in all its gr
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.
Erin Glover
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like Superman, seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler steps into a phone booth when she enters the basketball court and emerges transformed.
[The basketball] is "a big round world, with crevices and ravines slithering across tectonic plates. [She]...bounces[s] the world hard on the blacktop, and it comes back into [her]...hand covered with a fine layer of New York City diamond dust...


The basketball court is where Lucy finds herself, where she defines her place in a world of men. She regularly beats
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing and a hugely likeable protagonist. Unique coming of age story. Highly recommend.
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
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Set in Manhattan in the early 90s, this is a beautifully written coming of age story about a high school senior and a star basketball player on the street courts, and at school, trying to figure out where and with whom she fits, and what opportunities and limits her future holds. She’s a memorable character both vulnerable and fierce. I did skim a little toward the end as the book at times meandered into stream of consciousness story telling.
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Felt like this book broke my heart a zillion times. Hated myself for wanting Percy and Lucy to work out. (What does that even mean?? Marriage? Babies?! Woof.) I’m grateful to Lucy for reminding me that I don’t need to have it all figured out all the time, and that it’s OK to be sweaty and angry and corny and sweet and smoke Js and wear crushed velvet dresses. It’s OK to want to be one of the boys and one of the girls at the same time. It’s normal to wish that neither category existed.
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.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
A debut novel about a middle-class girl coming of age in 90s New York City. The story is lovely and well-written, if also lacking much in the way of drama or plotting.
Rachel Louise Atkin
The second half of this book was so much better than the first half. I think it’s one that grows on you the further you get into it and will be enjoyed much more on a reread.

Some critics are calling this a ‘new’ Catcher in the Rye. Honestly I don’t know what book they’ve read because this is nothing like the Catcher in the Rye apart from that she’s a 17 year old in New York.

A few things I didn’t like - the main character Lucy is a basketball player but I didn’t enjoy the long passages of narrati
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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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