Review: The Falconer by Dana Czapnik

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 savoring it’s grittiness and dark corners. She plays basketball without abandon and loves her few friends, and may just love Percy a little bit more…

I didn’t know if I was going to relate to Lucy. Being much younger, more “street” – a city girl, and an athlete, I thought we’d have nothing in common. But Lucy’s struggles are every woman’s struggles – especially in those dreaded high school years of trying to fit in and crushing on boys. Being so tiny in such a big city.

The writing is so poetic and fantastic. I savored every word. The descriptions of Manhattan were so visual and visceral – the book, is an ode to NYC. A love story of the city.

The early 90’s art scene was a welcome addition and I relished in the unconventional artisans and their style. I could see everything described through Lucy’s eyes with extreme vividness and I envied her awareness, her adoration.

But I also felt her sadness, her trouble to fit in, feeling more like one of the boys, than a girl the boys pay attention to. To be seen – but not in that way.

Your heart breaks for her as she tries to navigate life and just find her place. It’s a quiet story – as not too much happens, but at the same time – SO MUCH happens.

It’s beautiful, and Czapniks talent for words is unlike anything I’ve read before.


I do hope you’ll pick this one up. You can do so here —> The Falconer


  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (January 29, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1501193228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501193224


Thank you to Atria Books for the chance to read this wonderful story.

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From Amazon:

New York, 1993. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler, a street-smart, trash-talking baller, is often the only girl on the public courts. Lucy’s inner life is a contradiction. She’s by turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed and, despite herself, is in unrequited love with her best friend and pick-up teammate Percy, scion of a prominent New York family who insists he wishes to resist his upper crust fate.

As Lucy navigates this complex relationship in all its youthful heartache and prepares for life in the broader world, she begins to question accepted notions of success, bristling against her own hunger for male approval and searching for an authentic way to live and love. She is drawn into the world of a pair of provocative female artists living in what remains of New York’s bohemia, but soon even their paradise begins to show cracks.

Told in vibrant, quicksilver prose, The Falconer provides a snapshot of the city’s youth as they grapple with privilege and the fading of radical hopes and paints a captivating portrait of a young woman in the first flush of freedom.



About Dana:

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 United States Tennis Association, and the Arena Football League. A native New Yorker, she lives in Manhattan with her husband and son.


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