- Publisher: Long Walk Press
- Publish Date: 08/01/2013
- Source: eARC provided by the publisher for review
Her family may be shattered, but her dreams aren't...
From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest series
A Mature YA contemporary set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics.
Seventeen year old Karen Campbell has just lost both her parents in a tragic car accident. Grief stricken and alone, her gymnastics coach opens his home to Karen, providing her a place to live while she continues to train, working toward a spot on the world championship team.
Coach Bentley’s only child, seventeen year old Jordan is good-looking and charming enough to scare away a girl like Karen—someone who has spent ten times more hours on balance beams and uneven bars than talking or even thinking about boys. But the two teens share a special connection almost immediately. It turns out Jordan has a tragic past of his own, grief buried for years.
As Karen’s gymnastics career soars, her nightmares and visions of the horrible accident grow in strength. She can only avoid facing her grief for so long before it begins to surface and ultimately spin out of control in a very dangerous way. Can discovering love and lust (simultaneously) help with the grieving process or will it only provide a temporary distraction while waiting for reality to hit full force.
I was a gymnast when I was younger, so just seeing that gymnastics is a very big part of this book made me very interested. Then of course, I love contemporaries, so this was a must read for me. It sounded like it would be emotional and beautiful, and it was. I loved the characters and connected with them easily. I cared about their story, I cared about them, I needed to know where everything would end up. From the first page to the last, I felt all the emotions from Karen, and those around her.
Karen has just lost her parents in a car accident and instead of moving away, she will be living with her gymnastics coach. She is a very talented gymnast, and can go far with continued training. Gymnastics is pretty much her life. The gym where she goes is also full of her best friends who are basically family to her. She loses herself in the gymnastics, and is at the same time trying to go through the stages of grief of losing her parents. She is having nightmares, she is having a hard time trying to accept it, to move past it. Obviously, no one expects her to be okay right away, but she needs to heal herself before she can make decisions about her future and what route she wants to take with her career and school. I loved how she wrote letters to all the different people in her life throughout the story. She never sends them, and sometimes doesn't write them down, but I liked reading what she wanted to say to them in certain moments. Jordan is like her knight in shining armor. He helps her in ways that no one else can. I liked where she was at the end of the book. It was very realistic.
Jordan was so great. He was always really sweet and helpful to Karen. He cares for her, but doesn't think he's good enough for her. They both have their issues, and he doesn't want her to have to worry about his with everything that she is going through. He wants to help her to be better. He wants her to be happy, he wants her to accomplish her dreams. He goes above and beyond for her and I loved it. I also loved that he wasn't the typical bad boy type. I mean yes, he had his fair share of trouble, but he's not the broody, hot, tattooed bad boy. He is actually super smart, nice, talented, and has had a rough past few years. He needs to heal just as much as Karen does.
This was such a wonderful book. It was believable that Karen would lose herself in gymnastics to try not to think about losing her parents. Then as she discovered things that have been kept from her for her own good, she starts to see things a little differently. It's heartbreaking to see how it affects her, but it's exactly what she needs. It helps her see the reality of moving past things. She isn't as alone as she feels though. This was an emotional and beautiful story. It was especially great for me because I know the challenges of competitive gymnastics and how outside issues can affect you. I thought that this was told in a very realistic way, and that the ending was how it should be. There is resolution, but it's not tied up in a tidy bow. It was fantastic to read a book from this author so different from her other series. It was really great!!
*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.