In the competitive world of women's gymnastics, everybody is determined to make it to the top, no matter what it takes. This book alternates perspectives between five different characters, all with different personal and athletic strengths and weaknesses. Grace is a classic perfectionist with a father / coach who pushes her. Leigh is Grace's best friend, and she has a secret that might affect her career. Camille is over it, but she can't back out of gymnastics without disappointing everyone. Wilhelmina is an older gymnast, and this is her last shot. Monica is new and insecure - and it shows. The story takes place over the course of two days during the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics trials.
There are other gymnast characters beyond the main five who also have compelling stories. The author shows the complexity of close competitive relationships; there is love and protection along with stabbing comments, incessant score-keeping, and obsessively tracking others' ups and downs. Although the book makes many detailed references to gymnastics events, people without a background or interest in the sport can still read the book and connect to the themes of ethics, ambition, self-doubt, and effort.
This book includes some mature content.
"She was supposed to be here as a gymnastics veteran, lapping up any Olympic glory juice that might drip off the girls at the top. But she would rather retire than be an alternate."
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