Desert Isle Keeper
Head Over Heels
First things first: I love gymnastics. Well, let’s be more accurate: I love watching gymnastics and have since I was little. I tried my hand at the sport but it wasn’t a great fit for a lot of reasons (read: my love affair with carbs), but watching it is so great. Which means that Rachel Denhollander is one of my new heroes and I’ve been following the case of USA Gymnastics, Larry Nassar, and the Karolyis very carefully.
This book is a fictionalized version of those events, told from our protagonist’s perspective. The names are changed, obviously, and some of the details are as well – but if you know what she’s talking about, you’ll see it. The author tells us that she is an insider to this world, and you can tell. Her love of the sport and her need to introduce others to it is evident and grounds the book in a reality I found absorbing.
The premise is thus: Avery Adams is an Olympic hopeful whose dreams never came true and she’s been floundering ever since. She moves back to her hometown after a breakup and takes a job coaching another hopeful, Hallie. Along the way, Avery helps Hallie find her confidence, deal with this book’s Nassar, prevents Hallie from working with the book’s Bela Karolyi, and… falls in love.
The crush she had on the hottest boy in the gym is fulfilled when that boy turns into Hallie’s main coach. Ryan is a fabulous love interest – clearly into Avery, great at his job (hello, competence kink!), and an all around good dude who knows how to apologize when he’s wrong and how to step up when he’s right. Their happily ever after was just as satisfying as Hallie’s conclusion and this book was a delight.
Highly recommended for reading by the pool or on your couch; it’ll grab you and take to you another world for a bit, and isn’t that the point of a really good book?