Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on June 7th, 2016
Five gymnasts. One goal.
Grace lives and breathes gymnastics—but no matter how hard she pushes herself, she can never be perfect enough.
Leigh, Grace’s best friend, has it all: a gymnastics career, a normal high-school life…and a secret that could ruin everything.
Camille wants to please her mom, wants to please her boyfriend, and most of all, wants to walk away.
Wilhelmina was denied her Olympic dream four years ago, and she won’t let anything stop her again. No matter what.
Monica is terrified. Nobody believes in her—and why should they?
By the end of the two days of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials, some of these girls will be stars. Some will be going home with nothing. And all will have their lives changed forever.
There really are not that many YA sports books and that definitely needs to change, which is why I was so excited to read a YA gymnastics book. Well, that and the fact that I’ve been a gymnastics fan since I was a kid. Not to mention the fact that I am currently working on a YA gymnastics WIP. So I had all sorts of reasons to read Tumbling.
I was hooked right away because of the storytelling. It was told in such a way that I felt like I was immersed in the story, like I was actually sitting there watching the Olympic Trials. Best. Feeling. Ever. Very few stories can make me feel like I’m actually in the story, but Carter was able to do that for this book. Big kudos to her because I loved that feeling. I honestly felt like I could smell the chalk, sense the tension among the girls and feel the nervousness as the girls went through their rotations.
The characters were also very interesting. I was a bit worried that having 5 points of view in the story would be difficult to follow, but it actually wasn’t that bad even if sometimes the voices seemed a bit too much alike. I was really glad that the book focused on the main 5: Leigh, Grace, Monica, Wilhelmina & Camille but that there were other girls who were mentioned in the course of the story as well. I was also really happy to see the diversity in this book. Diversity came in many forms which was also nice to see. What I wasn’t expecting was a lesbian gymnast, but holy crap I was so excited to see that.
This book also tackled important teen issues like eating disorders, sexuality, family dynamics, balancing having a life alongside your dreams, which I thought was really great. So many teens feel overwhelmed as they try to juggle school, activities, social life etc and I think a book like this shows you how you can hit one of the extremes or you can hit a healthy balance.
The only issue I really had is that the character development wasn’t as great as I was hoping it would be. There were things going on with certain characters that I wish had been addressed better. Normally, I’m okay with things being open ended by the time the book was over, but considering the fact that this book was over 400 pages, I feel like more time could have been devoted to addressing certain things.
Overall, I really did enjoy this book and I would recommend it to fan of gymnastics and or the TV show Make It or Break It (Curse you ABC Family now Freeform for cancelling that show) Now would actually be a great time to read this book because the Olympics start next month and I’m so excited to see our US Gymnastics team rock it.