Audience: Contemporary Fiction + Romance
Length: 323 pages
Author: Hannah Orenstein
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 23rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.
Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.
NOT WHAT I WAS EXPECTING.
The cute rom-com cover hides the fact that this a lot closer to women’s fiction (nothing against the genre, just now what I was expecting upon picking it up). When I was looking for a contemporary romance I found a bit more and it ended up being alright.
I really loved all of the gymnastics aspects. I think coming off of watching the Olympics recently really had me stoked for a book along the same lines. I liked learning more about training aspects, coaching and other pieces. From that world it dove deeper into the abuse and mistreatment of gymnastic athletes. That took over a good portion of the plot and didn’t always connect back to the main characters.
That lack of connection made the scenes where Avery and Ryan were together not mesh well. They didn’t have great chemistry, just kind of started dating, then not, then dating, then not. And it was wishy-washy nonsense for most of the book.
While it brought awareness to many important topics the addition of the romance actually didn’t fit in. I think it should have leaned one way or the other more and would have been a more solid story.
Overall audience notes:
- Contemporary Fiction + Romance
- Language: a little strong
- Romance: kisses to little detailed open scene
- Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual abuse, emotional abuse, bullying