I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Charlie Ryland has a secret.
She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending.
Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.
Inspired by her own experiences as a fifteen-year-old Olympic gymnast, gold medalist Shawn Johnson writes a delightfully entertaining novel about chasing big dreams and falling in love, all while trying to keep it real.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am a gymnastics fan, and I loved ABC Family’s Make It Or Break It, and this book reminded me a lot of that show. It features Charlie Ryland, an elite gymnast who is weeks away from the Olympic trials. She’s living dual lives. In the gymnastics world, she is Charlie, two time gold medalist on the beam. But at her public high school, she is Charlotte Ryland. She wants a place where she doesn’t have to feel the pressure of gymnastics or face the criticism of the general public. Plus she wants to make friends because of who she is and not because she’s famous.
I loved Charlotte/Charlie. She was a very down-to-Earth, fun teenage girl. She has two terrific best friends – Gwen, a fellow elite gymnast, and Zoe, her companion at school. Zoe is ready for boys and prom, and she encourages Charlotte to have a little fun. Gwen is all business and keeps Charlie in line at the gym. I loved the friendships in this story. The boys were pretty great too, but I won’t give anything away.
There wasn’t as much gymnastics as I would have hoped. And while the writing wasn’t phenomenal – Charlie repeated her motivations too frequently – I couldn’t put this book down. I felt a lot of emotions for Charlie, which is a sign that the author is doing something right for sure.
Content-wise, this book may appeal more to the younger side of the YA spectrum, but in general I think gymnastics fans of all ages should read it. And the timing of the release is perfect with the Olympics coming up this summer.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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