Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Go-for-Gold Gymnasts: Reaching High by Dominique Moceanu and Alicia Thompson

Jessie can stay calm when it comes to performing routines in the Texas Twisters gym, but she's nervous about starting high school. It hasn't been long since she started taking gymnastic lessons again after spending some time dealing with an eating disorder. Her other friends from the team aren't in high school yet, so Jessie is nervous that she's going to be all alone. After a few tense run-ins with one particularly mean girl, Jessie decides to befriend her by agreeing to be part of the cheerleading team. Her coach and friends don't think this is a good idea, but Jessie doesn't understand why they aren't being more supportive. She just wants to have a life of her own - is that such a bad thing?

(Spoilers below!)

I was pleasantly surprised by this book, the third in the four-book "Go-for-Gold Gymnasts" series. I was expecting there to be a book where one of the gymnasts questioned her commitment to being an Elite-level gymnast, and after Jessie was revealed to have an eating disorder in the first book, it made sense that as she re-evaluated her life she would also re-evaluate how she felt about being a competitive gymnast. The surprise part came from the ending, where she decided to re-commit herself to gymnastics; that wasn't what I was expecting but, in the course of the story, it was a plot point that felt earned. Dominique Moceanu and Alicia Thompson are able to craft a story that pulls back the curtain on gymnastics and shows how hard and lonely it can be while still illustrating why someone would be willing - would want - to be a part of it. Jessie makes decisions that make me want to sit her down and have a good talk with her, but she shows that even when she is making bad choices she has a good heart and a good head. I'm really looking forward to spending some time with Christina, the one remaining narrator, in the fourth book of the series.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Go for the Gold by Elizabeth Levy
Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu
The Go-for-Gold Gymnasts: Winning Team by Dominique Moceanu and Alicia Thompson
The Go-for-Gold Gymnasts:Balancing Act by Dominique Moceanu and Alicia Thompson

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