Saturday, 8 February 2020

Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

Young gymnast Audrey is on the verge of achieving everything she's ever wanted. She's just made the Olympic team. An accusation against the team coach rocks them all just as training really ramps up, forcing them to pull together or risk losing everything they've worked for.

There's a Venn diagram out there somewhere, with one circle labeled 'People who read YA' and the other labelled 'People who know about competitive gymnastics'. I'm sure there's quite a large overlap in the middle. Sadly, I'm not in it. I tried looking up some of the terms for movements used in this book, but it was breaking my concentration on the story, so I mentally inserted 'twirl' everywhere a term I didn't know was used.

My copy was a proof, so maybe there'll be a glossary in the genuine article to explain some of these things. I couldn't even figure out the scoring. People were scoring thirteen point eights and fourteen point twos happily, so I thought must be out of fifteen. Then someone scored a fifteen point three...

In terms of the accusation, it's kind of glossed over, since they all have more important things to worry about. It left me with a story that I enjoyed reading, but has vanished away like candy floss now. A good read, but not a great one.

(I did love the way all the female teams rallied together to show support and cheer each other on; that was lovely.)

US cover                                  UK cover

Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics.

A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She's made the United States' gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She's on top of the world.

The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horrifying news rips the team apart. Audrey is desperate to advocate for her teammate who has been hurt by the one person they trusted most--but not all the gymnasts are as supportive.

With the team on the verge of collapse, the one bright spot in training is Leo, her new coach's ridiculously cute son. And while Audrey probably (okay, definitely) shouldn't date him until after the games, would it really be the end of the world?

Balancing the tenuous relationship between her teammates with unparalleled expectations, Audrey doesn't need any more distractions. No matter what it takes, she's not going to let anyone bring them down. But with painful revelations, incredible odds, and the very real possibility of falling at every turn, will Audrey's determination be enough?

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