Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure




The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes
Published June 1, 2013 by Random House
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: Desperate to escape her grieving father and harbouring her own terrible secret, Shelley disappears into the intoxicating world of AFL. 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.

The Whole of My World by Nicole Hayes is set in Melbourne and the year is 1984. This is the year that Shelley Brown will turn fifteen. It’s the year her beloved Glenthorn Falcons will win the premiership. It’s the year she will put her old life behind her and move on. Or so she thinks.

I love Aussie YA contemporary novels and have found a new favourite in The Whole of My World. From the moment that Shelley is introduced in her footy poster-covered bedroom, I was completely absorbed by her story. Shelley is like most teenage girls, she’s feeling increasingly awkward about her developing body, she is nervous about starting a new school, she’s unsure of her new feelings towards best friend Josh. She’s instantly relatable, and I’m sure a lot of people would also understand the pain she’s gone through in losing her mother two years ago.

Shelley’s relationship with her dad is complicated. They are careful not to mention the past, careful to avoid the footy ground where they used to go as a family, careful to avoid people that remind them of the day their lives changed. Shelley’s grief and guilt reminded me so much of Bird by Crystal Chan. It was heartbreaking to think of how much pain she was carrying around with her, how she couldn't even celebrate her birthday without feeling bad.

I am not an AFL fan, that should come as no surprise seeing as I’m from Sydney, but I used to follow NRL so I could understand Shelley’s passion for the game and the players, though I was never as into it as she was. And while the sport was a major factor in this story, you don’t need to be a fan or even know much about the game to be able to enjoy and understand this story.

The mystery revolving Shelley’s mother had me intrigued and the truth is revealed towards the end of the book, along with a surprising addition. Another element that became apparent was the reason for Tara’s hatred of the girls that hung around with the players. While I loved certain secondary characters, like Josh, I never quite warmed to Tara’s snarkyness, but the reason for her behaviour softened my opinion.

The Whole of My World is a wonderfully absorbing and heartfelt book, focusing on issues so relevant to teens today: family, friendships, and a sense of belonging.

Thank you to the fantastic people at Random House for my review copy.

Purchase: A&R  /  Booktopia  / Bookworld  /  Dymocks  /  Fishpond (intl shipping)  


I love this cover, I adore covers featuring cloudy skies and it was really simple to recreate on my nails.


I started with 3 coats of BYS Sky's the Limit. Once dry I sponged on Ulta3 Lily White.


Then on my accent nail I used acrylic paint and a fine brush to paint the coloured ovals. For some reason the purple oval shows up looking maroon once photographed.



43 comments:

  1. I lived in Australia for a bit and I wish I could get Aussie fiction more easily. I want to read this -- I see that TBD has it :) I wish a book shopping trip to Sydney were in order, but probably not at the moment!
    And great nails! Love the cloud effect :)
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  2. The cover on this book is so nice and you recreated it well on your nails too.

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  3. Wow, this sounds like a really heartwarming book, and I can't wait to meet Shelley. It's tough to make a character's growing pains and grief so realistic and relatable, and it sounds like the author does a marvelous job of getting you into the story. Love the cloud look on the nails, very striking! :-)

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    1. The author did an excellent job of Shelley's character :)

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  4. I haven't heard of this one, sounds awesome! I love your nail design too!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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  5. You had me at Melbourne and footy covered walls. if you add on ten years to the date, that was me at that age too. I can't recall any other YA featuring footy, I'm definitely picking up a copy of this one. Thank you so much for sharing, can't wait to get stuck into it.

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    1. I hope you really love this, sounds like the book for you!

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  6. I hear such good things about Aussie contemporary. I wish I could get my hands on the titles easier. I love the nails as usual; I could almost see myself being able to get the blue/white to work on my own nails. haha

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    1. Lots of them are getting pub'd in the USA, but I think they go unnoticed because often the covers AND titles get changed in the process :/

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  7. I adore the cover as well! Simple yet so pretty. <3 Love the hopeful tone. :) This book seems to dig deeper than I previously thought! I haven't seen many Aussie YA here except some that get translated in the way. Hopefully I can get my hands on this book sometimes later. Beautiful review, Mandee! And gorgeous nail art as always. :)

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  8. cute mani to match the book cover! :) how do you read books so quickly?! how many pages do you read per day? how much time do you spend reading each day? i haven't read a book in a while :( i feel like i don't really have time

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    1. I don't really track the number of pages or how much time I spend reading, but I read whenever I have spare time :)

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  9. Every Aussie book I've read--though admittedly it's not many--has been really good, but I just don't hear about many. I'm excited to see this, though, and will definitely seek it out. :) And I'm just so jealous of your nail skills! If I get around to painting mine, I manage to chip them the next day. :D

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

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    1. There is something magical about (most) Aussie YA! And I hope you do get to read more, there are a couple being pub'd in the USA this year

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  10. How gorgeous is that cover? I'm surprised I haven't stumbled across this before-The Whole of My World sounds like my kind of read and I'm definitely adding this to my TBR!

    That mani is so cute too-As for the purple that didn't show up in the picture I think you should try taking the picture in natural light. It might show the colors more vividly. :)

    Great review and mani, Mands! :)

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    1. Thanks! And I use an OTTLite which is the best type of light for showing colours as they appear, it's the camera that does funny things with certain colours :)

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  11. Great review! I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds like a good read. I love the nails too :)

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  12. Lovely mani and review :) All the Aussie novels I have read so far has been great, and this sure sounds like another winner. Your review made me think about 'Please Ignore Vera Dietz' by A.S. King eventhough the mother in that story lives.

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    1. I have PIVD on my shelf so I'll be sure to get to it soon, Mari!

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  13. Love the nails! Gosh I think I would like this one, I was eleven in 1984 so I would enjoy the trip down memory lane. I am curious about what happened to her mom now as well.

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  14. These are super cute nails, the sponged clouds look amazing! It sounds like a great book too, I love it when the big mystery isn't revealed until the end :)

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  15. Oh dang. :'( It swallowed my comment. (Unless it turns up somewhere, and then I've weirdly commented twice.) But I'll re-comment just in case. ;) Although I can never remember what I just said...lol, er, okay! I really LOVE Aussie contemporaries! Everything I read seems to be set in the USA, which is fine and all, but Oz is better. ;) Football...eh, I really don't get it. But if it's anything like Bird than I'm 100% sure I need to try this. Nails are fabulous as always, too. ;)

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    1. I love our Aussie contemps too, they are so, so good!

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  16. Australian authors are so TALENTED.
    Seriously.
    I am glad to hear you enjoyed this and I really really hope book depository has a copy because I wants it!

    Also.. I love your nails!! :)

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  17. Whoa this book sounds fantastic! I hopped right over to see if I could buy it here (yes!) Love the cloudy sky mani too. Just gorgeous.

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  18. Haven't heard of this one but sounds good. I also love the cover and think your nails came out great.

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  19. I love the cover! This book sounds like it was done well, I enjoy relatable characters and true to life storylines.

    A lovely review & manicure Mandee :-)

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  20. Beautiful mani as always :D
    I'm loving your new Blog look!

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  21. I always think it's interesting when a book has a strong theme that I would normally not want anything to do with - like AFL, because then I have to see whether I can get past my lack of interest in that thing (like the sport) and see if I can still love the book anyway. When I listened to The Taliban Cricket Club, having never had any interest at all in cricket, I really came to appreciate it and for a few days even listened to all the stuff about cricket on the news. It didn't last, but it thought it was interesting that the author could be so persuasive as to temporarily convince me.

    I had no interest at all in American football until I watched FNL, and even though I really don't understand any of the rules, I'll find myself quite engaged in watching it if I catch it on TV in a restaurant.

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    1. It is good when a book can be interesting, despite being based on a subject you dislike or are disinterested in!

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  22. This was one of my favourite contemp Aus YA books last year :)

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