FIVE STAR REVIEWS
MJ Haines for Amazon.co.uk
Some things are well worth waiting for, and this is definitely the case with Tracey Morait’s Goalden Sky. Tracey has given her teenage footy-playing step-sister-tolerating (just!) heroine, Gemma Sutherland, another literary run out. I have waited a long time for this and it has not disappointed.
The tale is still new so I can only briefly summarise the tale so as to avoid spoilers. But I can tell you this is a cracking read. I can’t pretend that this is edge of the seat stuff, it isn’t but nor is it designed to be; instead it is a somewhat earthy / realistic yarn about footy mad and now fifteen years old Gemma Sutherland, and her family and friends.
The football (soccer), while strongly featured (both school and professional level) throughout, at times acts more as part of the background / backdrop, while Gemma’s home and school life, and that of her family and friends, come strongly into focus.
Through the ups but sadly even more downs of current and former relationships, Gemma and her father find themselves lumbered with Gemma’s sort of step-sister, ten year old Portia; a spoilt brat if ever there was one. What make things worse, something happens which results in Portia becoming even more reliant on Gemma and her dad. Gemma is mortified at this; at times her thoughts and actions towards Portia are justified, but, and here is where the tale shows its realistic vent the most, quite often it isn’t and jealousy and pettiness take over.
This time round, school football is not and cannot be the be all and end all – GCSEs are looming, and schoolwork, both in school and at home, has to come first, although, as is really the case in all schools, the more sporty pupils are expected to find the right balance between their chosen sport and their studies. And as Gemma and her friends are a little older, there are tiny hints of teenage sexuality coming through here and there, but this does not hog the pages, and its minor presence is, I feel, weighted just right.
All in all, Gemma, Portia, Mr Sutherland, the wider family, friends and even teaching staff, all play their part in bringing us an engaging, sometimes humorous, sometimes earthy tale of life in football-mad Liverpool.
Well done Tracey Morait – again!
JewelJW for Barnes & Noble
When I bought this book I didn’t realize it was a sequel. I really enjoyed it but I think I need to read the first book to make more sense of it, because it carries on with the story about soccer player Gemma who first appears in Goalden Girl. There appear to be two plots running side by side: Gemma’s soccer playing and the challlenges she faces after her sister’s accident. The author tells the story really well and the soccer scenes are really well described. I wasn’t bored and I wanted to see what happened next. I see this author has written other books and I would be interested to read them.
K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite and Barnes & Noble
Goalden Sky is a short novel by Tracey Morait which is the sequel to the young adult tale, Goalden Girl. Set in the UK in contemporary times, the novel’s young protagonist is Gemma Sutherland, a keen female footballer who has already fought for and won the right to set up a girls’ football team at her school, Naylorsfield. In Goalden Sky, Gemma is reunited with her would-be step-sister Portia, also keen to play the beautiful game, and their rocky relationship takes on a new twist as she and her dad become responsible for her care after Portia suffers a traumatic accident. A love for sport and a love for family combine in this uplifting yet down to earth tale of two girls and their future dreams.
As a British reader myself, I saw many a Liverpudlian reference in Tracey Morait’s writing, and I feel that she has captured a spirit and a culture that readers from any country can fall in love with. Goalden Sky is an inspiring story that’s about much more than sport; exploring family relationships, mental health conditions, friendships and social pressures in a way that’s very accessible to its intended young adult audience. I was very impressed with the representation of aspirational young women whom we don’t usually see in YA fiction. I think that Goalden sky teaches valuable lessons about achieving your dreams in a practical and well thought out way. Overall, an engaging read with lovable characters and a very important message at its heart.
FOUR STAR REVIEWS
Chris Brown for Goodreads (rating only)
The Gypsy for Amazon.co.uk
I read Goalden Girl about 5 years ago and really enjoyed it. At that time I said I wanted to read more about this family, especially Portia. And Goalden Sky gives us a lot more Portia, a lot more Gemma and a little more Tyrone too. All very interesting, very real characters with their own personalities.
Some things have not changed, Gemma’s relationship with Portia is still very up and down. She seems to care for her a little more, now that she is older, but she still does not seem to like her much. Gemma’s feelings for Portia do seem a little irrational to me at times but that is the author’s intention I think. Teenagers, the intended audience for this book, will be able to relate to it quite well I am sure. I was Gemma’s age a very long time ago so I have perhaps forgotten a lot about teen emotions.
The story has a football theme running through it, but it is not a football story. It is another story about people and relationships and I would certainly recommend it to young people. It is a story about young people and for young people.
Goalden Sky did not grip me as much as Goalden Girl had. The Goalden characters did not evolve as much as I had perhaps hoped and it is a little disappointing. But that might be because I have also read the author’s other books Epiworld and Big Brother, and been on fantastic adventures with Travis and Ash.
Hope there is another adventure story coming soon Tracey Morait?
Gennaro Lomardi for Amazon.ca