Friday, July 27, 2012

Go for the Gold by Elizabeth Levy

Heidi Ferguson was America's rising gymnast star...until anorexia sidelined her career and left many wondering if she'd ever compete again. Recovery was difficult but Heidi is finally back competing, and she's stronger than ever. She's America's best hope at an Olympic medal in gymnastics and a star at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. She knows what it will take to win and is ready to go for the gold, but injuries, pressure, and biased judges threaten to get in the way. Heidi is going to give it her all, but will it be enough?

A lot of my childhood books were random ones that, if I had to guess, were picked up from yard sales, book sales, etc, at least before I started defining my own reading preferences. This was a book that I know I had (and still have), but I didn't own or read the rest of The Gymnasts series (with the bizarre exception of Tumbling Ghosts - again, it had to have been a yard sale pick). I loved Go for the Gold as a girl an even had many of the most dramatic lines memorized (I can't tell you which ones, it would give away the plot). It has stood up surprisingly well. It's set during the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games, and even though that's now 20 years ago, not much stands out too much as being dated. Yes, technology has changed, but that's about it. There are things in there that make sense for a reader today: the realities of anorexia in sports like gymnastics, parental pressure, being friendly with competitors while still trying to beat them, carrying the weight of a nation's hopes, dealing with paparazzi and journalists and agents. Set before the Magnificent 7-era of the 1996 Olympics, it makes sense that an American winning the All-Around Gold in 1992 would have been a big deal. Heidi is a likeable character: a determined athlete struggling to balance the expectations and fears of her parents, coach, and friends with her own expectations and fears. This book is long out of print, but if you can find it (maybe at a yardsale? or in a library or a used book store) it would be a great read during the 2012 Olympics.

(Also, is it just me, or does the cover picture look a little bit like teenage Robin on How I Met Your Mother?)

Check out more information on Elizabeth Levy at her website.

Find out more information at Amazon.

Read it with:
The Gymnasts: The Beginners by Elizabeth Levy
Gold Medal Dreams: Chance of a Lifetime by Melissa Lowell
Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu
Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson

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