Disclaimer: This book is the first of three of which only one book has been released but the second one should be released some time this year.
Result: 3.5 stars. Though there were no major issues and the book was better than average, I didn’t love it. This book is recommended for anyone interested in gymnastics and/or wants to know more about the sport. It’ll also be interesting to people that are interested in the road to the Olympics, cost of training all day everyday, learning more about media and sport, etc.
This book is the first of three that takes a fictional behind the scenes look at the life of three young gymnasts vying for a spot on the Olympic gymnastic team going to Rio. Each gymnast has their own goals and reasons for loving the sport and wanting to get to the Olympics.
I enjoyed this book and think anyone with an interest in gymnastics would too. The first two paragraphs of this book were weak and could have been better to pull me in, however I did get into the first person narrative quicker than most books that use this narrative choice and after the first few paragraphs I was not thrown out of the narrative as I have been in the past due to the first person narrative (*coughDivergentcough*). Though there was some inconsistencies with the ages of some characters which irked me.
I did like the characters and the fact the clueless dad was used to provide needed exposition for those that might not understand gymnastics. I also appreciated that the main character had signs of obsessive compulsive tendencies. There was also a mixture of family types represented in this novel. Though for someone as old as Ruby she would have known better than to swear in a professional interview.
Most of the things I didn’t necessarily like about this book stemmed from the fact I couldn’t decide if I liked how closely it paralleled the real life of USA gymnastics. On one hand I liked the closer look as life as a gymnast in the US and a real but fictional way, but on the other hand there were certain things that I did not think were true to life that I would have excused if the novel was not trying to be so true to real life. Things like ipods on the competition floor and at the farm at verification. The number of hours in public school, still pulling good grades in high level courses and travel times. There are just not enough hours in the day for a lot of that to be feasible.
Another thing I did not like as much about this book is that at times it read like a list of skills and their descriptions of how to preform them between some fluff. It’s a tough balance of giving enough information to be informative while not reading a laundry list and I think the book did cross over the line. As a result the pacing of the book did suffer.
Overall, due to the in depth descriptions of gymnastics skills and the slower pacing of the novel I believe this is more of a niche book, however that does not mean it’s a bad book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and give it 3.5 stars.