Gold Medal Summer

978-1-93543-076-6. 54.95.
Joey Jordan 13, is an elite gymnast—she spends eight hours a day at the gym, leaving little time for boys, friends outside of her teammates, and other typical teenage activities. Her older sister retired from gymnastics after winning the national title, and Joey’s parents are so burned out that they don’t even attend her competitions. But things are changing. Joey’s best friend is thinking about giving up gymnastics. Joey is working behind the back of her ultra-strict coach with her sister and assistant coach on new routines that play more to her strengths. And she’s become reacquainted with an old friend who’s now incredibly “hot” and wants to be her boyfriend—but boyfriends are forbidden because they can destroy an athlete’s focus. Joey has never won a gold medal at competitions, but she wonders if she can win the upcoming regional championships and then go further. Donna Freitas was a competitive gymnast, and her novel (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, 2012) convincingly presents the stress, excitement, pain, and pure joy of the sport. Jaselyn Blanchard convincingly portrays the young protagonist as well as the other characters. Although many aspects of the story are predictable, the plot and characters will appeal to the many tweens who will be particularly interested in gymnastics after the success of this year’s U.S. Olympic team.–Margo Tanenbaum, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, CA

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