“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.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
Head Over Heels was my Book of the Month pick for July. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it since I don’t typically read contemporary romance, but I ended up really enjoying the book and found it to be a motivational, uplifting story.
Every four years when the Olympics roll around, I love to watch the gymnastics. It’s such an impressive sport especially when the athletes make everything look so easy – that’s how you know it’s not!
This book gets up close and personal with what it’s like to be a young athlete competing to be in the Olympics. It’s not all pretty, and in fact a lot of pressure is placed on these athletes, when they are teenagers or younger, to be “perfect” in their sport.
Avery’s story was intense at times. I hate to think of all the girls and young women who suffered the different forms of abuse that have been rampant in this sport. But, the story is very empowering as Avery is able to use what she went through to help young athletes, Hallie in particular, as she becomes her assistant coach.
The romance side of this story was very much in the background, and I was glad that it didn’t take away from what I thought were the bigger issues at hand. There is also an acknowledgement at the beginning that the idea for this book started well before the Covid-19 pandemic and that the book would not be mentioning the current events. I breathed a sigh of relief at this, because I think it would have distracted from the story of this young gymnast training for the Olympics too much.
I was surprised by this read and would definitely read more of Hannah Orenstein’s books in the future!
Goodreads rating: Four stars