Head Over Heels – Releasing June 23, 2020
“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.” – Goodreads
WHAT I LIKED
First of all, a huge thank you to Atria Books for this advanced copy! Next, let me just say that in 1996, 9 year old me was obsessed with The Magnificent Seven. We’re talking posters, every TV special, I saw them perform locally, and I read their biographies. I also coach competitive cheer, which utilizes tumbling. So, I imagine the gymnastics lingo might be lost on some readers, but I ate it up! This is the story of a former (almost Olympian) gymnast who went down a rough path for a while and finds herself back home working in a gym she grew up in, and living in her parents’ home.
She also finds herself crushing on someone from her past, the guy who offered her a coaching job in said gym. Together they’re training a new powerhouse athlete to prepare for the Olympics, if they can put their feelings aside and focus on the job, that is.
This book has a little of everything. Avery dealt with depression, verbal abuse from a coach, an ex that didn’t think very much of her ambition, and a fallout with her best friend. It also tackles the issues that have occured in real life in the sport; it is tackled well and the response from characters is meaningful and powerful. Even though there are some heavy pieces to this book, giving it some depth, it also has some lighthearted elements that make it a quick, romantic read. I really enjoyed it!
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE
I didn’t think the chemistry between Avery and Ryan was necessarily that apparent all of the time. Their dialogue fell a little flat sometimes, even when Avery was saying things like, “Oh, I still really like him. All of the feelings are still there.” It didn’t really feel that way as much as she said.