Review: The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes
This was an intriguing read for a number of reasons. I found the setting of this one quite interesting, in the world of Aussie Rules, back in an era before women over the age of twelve could participate, and a few years before AFL. In this days, footy was local and it was entirely possible to go to the games and see yourself on television on the replay that evening. The novel is set in Victoria and the VFL teams mentioned are entirely fictitious. (Though it is not difficult to see the parallels between the fictional Falcons, and Hawthorn.)
Through her obsessive support of the team, Shelley finds a way to move past the grief that has plagued her for the last couple of years--and there is certainly a heartbreaking twist in this particular tale, and it is one that works extremely well. Another thing that is probably worth mentioning is that the novel was published in 2013, (a few years before AFLW was established,) and it raises some very relevant questions about girls and women playing football--Shelley wants desperately to play but is pushed into the role of supporter where, it turns out, the players only want her around to feed their egos. Or worse, in the case of one particular predatory player. (Luckily, these days, a girl like Shelley has the opportunity not just to play, but the potential to play at a professional level.) Side characters like Tara and even school bully Ginnie are well developed and realistic.
Overall, a great read about loss and the role of girls and women in footy.