For pretty much her entire life, Joey Jordan has had one goal: win a gold medal in gymnastics. Her older sister, Julia, won the gold medal at Nationals a few years ago, and Joey is determined to follow in her footsteps and equally determined that this is her year. But there are problems: her best friend and squadmate, Alex, is thinking about leaving the sport and one of her childhood friends (Tanner) is now back in town and really, REALLY cute—and interested in her. And if there is one rule on her squad (well, besides “listen to the coach,” it’s this: “boys and gymnastics DO NOT MIX.)
Apparently this book is drawn (at least in part) from Donna Freitas’ own experiences as a gymnast growing up. I’m not sure how much of this book is “true” but it was very enjoyable.
I personally never had the gymnastics bug (I remember we did units on it in elementary school gym and having near-panic attacks at having to use the unevens and high bars, so clearly my odds of doing well were very slim indeed, especially when “lack of balance” and “inability to even do cartwheels” were factored in) but I really enjoyed this book. Joey is a sweet character and I always admire people who are driven. (Especially teenagers.)
I think even people who aren’t athletically inclined (like me) would fall in love with this book.
Even better, Rebecca Stead (who wrote When You Reach Me, which you have to read if you haven’t already) said this is “immensely fun and satisfying” and it really is.
It’s the perfect mix of first love and friendship and dream-striving. It’s a great and sweet story. (And it ends after regionals, so I hold out hope for a sequel set at nationals. And maybe an Olympics story. Because why not?)