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Break the Fall

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Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics. A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She's made the United States' gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She's on top of the world. The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horri Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics. A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She's made the United States' gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She's on top of the world. The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horrifying news rips the team apart. Audrey is desperate to advocate for her teammate who has been hurt by the one person they trusted most--but not all the gymnasts are as supportive. With the team on the verge of collapse, the one bright spot in training is Leo, her new coach's ridiculously cute son. And while Audrey probably (okay, definitely) shouldn't date him until after the games, would it really be the end of the world? Balancing the tenuous relationship between her teammates with unparalleled expectations, Audrey doesn't need any more distractions. No matter what it takes, she's not going to let anyone bring them down. But with painful revelations, incredible odds, and the very real possibility of falling at every turn, will Audrey's determination be enough?


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Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics. A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She's made the United States' gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She's on top of the world. The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horri Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics. A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She's made the United States' gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She's on top of the world. The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horrifying news rips the team apart. Audrey is desperate to advocate for her teammate who has been hurt by the one person they trusted most--but not all the gymnasts are as supportive. With the team on the verge of collapse, the one bright spot in training is Leo, her new coach's ridiculously cute son. And while Audrey probably (okay, definitely) shouldn't date him until after the games, would it really be the end of the world? Balancing the tenuous relationship between her teammates with unparalleled expectations, Audrey doesn't need any more distractions. No matter what it takes, she's not going to let anyone bring them down. But with painful revelations, incredible odds, and the very real possibility of falling at every turn, will Audrey's determination be enough?

30 review for Break the Fall

  1. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    Oh this was an incredible read! I feel like my emotions just went through three flips on the bars here (because I MUST make some sort of terrible gymnastic pun) and there was one bit where I honestly teared up. I never never tear up in books. But it was a moment I'd seen coming, raw pain revealed for both the reader and the protagonist to feel gut-punched by, and both Audrey and I nearly broke down. I have such deepest respect for authors that make you feel. [tackling dark topics] I wanted to put Oh this was an incredible read! I feel like my emotions just went through three flips on the bars here (because I MUST make some sort of terrible gymnastic pun) and there was one bit where I honestly teared up. I never never tear up in books. But it was a moment I'd seen coming, raw pain revealed for both the reader and the protagonist to feel gut-punched by, and both Audrey and I nearly broke down. I have such deepest respect for authors that make you feel. [tackling dark topics] I wanted to put this first in my review because I know reading books with sexual assault themes often worry readers. I get that. It's galling and terrible to read, even if it is a reality. So I just wanted to say (a) this is about survivors, no graphic scenes, (b) it's about rebuilding in the "afterwards" so the assault has happened to secondary characters already. This book is about believing survivors. It's that moment when someone you know says the impossible and accuses a person you trusted of being a rapist ... and you are there on the spot, wondering if you'll say, "I believe you." That's what makes you break down. That moment, when women say "me too" or "I believe you". I've read books about rape and rape survivors, but not one that came from this angle: Belief. Support. Fierce fierce love. [the story...we're going to the Olympics!] I've not read an Olympic book and I LOVED THIS. It's very detailed about gymnastics routines and the challenges. And oh, can we talk about the actual hell these women put their bodies through?!? Audrey is recovering from a back injury and has shots of cortisol into her spine just to keep going. For her, the Olympics is the end. She's 17 and basically forced to retire after this due to chronic pain. So the whole book is this phenomenal moment of "will I medal will I medal" AND this aching goodbye of her knowing this is the end of her journey. I just loved being at the Olympics!! Going through all the emotions with the girls! Feeling this tight connection for not only Audrey, but Emma, Dani and Chelsea too. I also feel like a total potato now. What dID U DO AT 17. THE OLYMPICS??? NO? POTATO. [cute little squish of romance] Okay we love Leo Adams and he is adorable and so soft. The romance is this nice little sidedish of dessert at the edge of the story, and I loved how gentle and supportive it was! It didn't overshadow the main themes (olympics, women empowerment, #metoo belief) but it was just SO CUTE. [the writing] Storyline? Excellent. I flew through this book, and at one stage I lost time too. I didn't always keep up with what the routines they were doing looked like because I have the imagination of a dried prune. BUT I appreciated the balance between gymnastic moments and friendship moments, and agonising emotional moments. And the ending was just !!!!! I will say no more!! [overall] It's such a good story, so full of love and pain, and it just leaves you in awe of athletes and fiercely proud of girls who stand together no matter what. There is brokenness in this novel, with Audrey's injury and the abuse survivors, but there's love and rebuilding and this indescribable strength of people who will not let each other fall alone.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Iacopelli

    Thanks everyone for their incredible support in the lead up to this release and last night at my launch! The Pre-Order/Library Request Campaign is live and will continue throughout the first week of publication, so please submit your receipts! https://www.buybreakthefall.com/pre-o... Also, if you've read BTF, please consider crossposting your review on a retailer site! I'd VERY MUCH appreciate it!! Thanks everyone for their incredible support in the lead up to this release and last night at my launch! The Pre-Order/Library Request Campaign is live and will continue throughout the first week of publication, so please submit your receipts! https://www.buybreakthefall.com/pre-o... Also, if you've read BTF, please consider crossposting your review on a retailer site! I'd VERY MUCH appreciate it!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    THIS WAS SO GREAT. I can't count the number of times I caught myself thinking about this book randomly throughout the day, I also can't remember the last time a book made me think about it randomly throughout the day as much as this did. It was brilliantly written, powerful in its message and execution, empowering and totally and utterly addictive. I had heart palpitations numerous times throughout the girls' routines, which were vivid and expertly described. I have truly never regretted my heig THIS WAS SO GREAT. I can't count the number of times I caught myself thinking about this book randomly throughout the day, I also can't remember the last time a book made me think about it randomly throughout the day as much as this did. It was brilliantly written, powerful in its message and execution, empowering and totally and utterly addictive. I had heart palpitations numerous times throughout the girls' routines, which were vivid and expertly described. I have truly never regretted my height and fear of falling (or hurting myself in any way, I'm a wuss, let's be honest) causing me to be a terrible gymnast as a child more than I did whilst reading this book. With its diverse cast of characters superb discussions on sexual assault, power imbalances, race, friendship, ambition and exploration how far is 'too far' when it comes to achieving your dreams, I don't doubt this book will stick with me for a long time. Plus, this fed all my 'Make it or Break it' bookish dreams I didn't realise I had (and I never even finished the show.) TW: Discussions of sexual assault.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Caz (littlebookowl)

    Rating: 4.5 stars A truly powerful book, but with an overarching tone of hope, empowerment, loyalty and strength. Trigger warning: discussions about sexual assault (nothing graphic on the page)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    My daughter is a competitive gymnast, so I speak from experience when I say that finding books - good books - about this subject that aren't just meant for the preschool set is...impossible. Really. A good fiction book about gymnasts just doesn't exist - until now. The gymnastics in this book are so realistic that I could picture it in my head. Which is ironic, because my daughter rolls her eyes at me regularly when I ask her to remind me what in the world she's talking about as she mentions new My daughter is a competitive gymnast, so I speak from experience when I say that finding books - good books - about this subject that aren't just meant for the preschool set is...impossible. Really. A good fiction book about gymnasts just doesn't exist - until now. The gymnastics in this book are so realistic that I could picture it in my head. Which is ironic, because my daughter rolls her eyes at me regularly when I ask her to remind me what in the world she's talking about as she mentions new skills. It's edge-of-your-seat athletics (which, to be honest, gymnastics often is), and I could feel myself getting more and more tense during the rotations. Gymnastics is one of THE most underrated sports, in terms of the time and training it requires, and the absolute strength and skill the girls possess. I've actually been sitting at a college meet and heard the guy behind me tell his girlfriend that their child wouldn't do gymnastics because it wasn't really a sport. This book makes it clear that this is NOT the case - that gymnasts are strong, fierce, and have an endurance beyond what many would ever believe. Particularly to get to this level. But here's the kicker. This isn't just a book about gymnasts competing for a gold. That in itself has enough details to sideline many authors, but it's also about so much more. Iacopelli not only writes about the current elephant in the room (sexual assault in elite gymnastics), but she wrestles said elephant into submission. It's a realistic portrait of the coulds and woulds and should-haves that go through people's minds when someone they've known for years, someone they've trusted with their health, their career, THEIR DREAMS, becomes someone they find they didn't really know. When the people they thought they knew best have secrets, and how those secrets can come tumbling down like a string of dominoes. While this could be a trigger for some, Iacopelli has handled the situation gracefully - no big flashbacks, no horrific graphic imagery. Simply a group of girls, getting ready to compete on the biggest stage in the world, trying to process the truth. I'm also VERY appreciative of the resources listed in the back of the book for RAINN, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and Flip the Switch - there for those who may stumble upon them and realize that help is available. Speaking of the group of girls in the story - they echoed what I have seen over and over again, even at my daughter's level of gymnastics. Girls on a team, even if they aren't "friends" outside the gym, are absolutely teammates inside of it. They will cheer each other on, high five, and encourage - and hug when needed. They will cheer on girls from *other* gyms when they feel it's warranted. As the parent of a gymnast, it was excellent to see this teamwork and camaraderie brought to light in this book. Gymnasts - or even just women athletes - often seem to be considered bitchy or haughty or aloof, in part because of how hard they've had to work to get to an elite level. But for the most part, while this does exist, it is not in the majority. Again, Iacopelli was able to show the teamwork and empathy that most exhibit, and that really helped to make the characters shine. Overall, I could not be more thrilled to have a book that my daughter might be interested in reading. One with true characters, some suspense, and even a little romance. I'm not usually a contemporary YA reader, but the gymnastics twist drew me in - and I'm so glad it did. #BreakTheFall @PenguinTeen

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kaelyn

    Once again, Jennifer has written a book about girls in sports that is about SO MUCH MORE. I was lucky enough to read an early version of Break the Fall and it will not disappoint. These girls are amazing, Leo is adorable, and the story is heartbreaking, uplifting, and inspiring. I always hesitate to leave reviews because I don’t think I articulate what I love about them well enough, but trust me when I tell you this book is amazing. I can’t wait to order this for the teens at my library, they’re Once again, Jennifer has written a book about girls in sports that is about SO MUCH MORE. I was lucky enough to read an early version of Break the Fall and it will not disappoint. These girls are amazing, Leo is adorable, and the story is heartbreaking, uplifting, and inspiring. I always hesitate to leave reviews because I don’t think I articulate what I love about them well enough, but trust me when I tell you this book is amazing. I can’t wait to order this for the teens at my library, they’re going to devour it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    Listened to this entire audiobook during a bad bout of insomnia, and I enjoyed every minute. YA about women’s sports is one of my favorite things, and this was so well-done! I know next to nothing about gymnastics, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of all the gym stuff, but at its heart, this is a story about friendship and the bonds between women. Definitely the thing I needed to soothe the pain of the 2020 Olympics (rightfully) being postponed.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joce (squibblesreads)

    See more of my thoughts in detail in my review HERE! Break the Fall was phenomenal. It comes at such a needed time, when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed. We all need a little more gymnastics in our lives. Luckily, Audrey, or Rey's story exceeded all my expectations. She narrates her journey towards hopefully qualifying for the USA women's gymnastics team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. One of Audrey's teammates accuses her coach of sexual assault, and there are various responses from the See more of my thoughts in detail in my review HERE! Break the Fall was phenomenal. It comes at such a needed time, when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed. We all need a little more gymnastics in our lives. Luckily, Audrey, or Rey's story exceeded all my expectations. She narrates her journey towards hopefully qualifying for the USA women's gymnastics team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. One of Audrey's teammates accuses her coach of sexual assault, and there are various responses from the team and social media, which unfortunately was the reality of the situation when Aly Raisman and others accused Larry Nassar of sexual assault. The author does an amazing job of treating the situation with both gravity and respect. There is also a hint of romance, all the complexities of female friendships, and masterful description of gymnastics technique and competition. I loved Break the Fall so much.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scarlet

    So good! The sports aspects felt SO real and I really enjoyed all of the characters. I liked that it surprised me several times with the plot and it really kept me reading way past my bedtime because I just had to know what was going to happen.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Henning

    I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of BREAK THE FALL. As a former competitive gymnast and current-and-always lover of sports fiction, this book had it all: drama, suspense, heartbreak, redemption, friendship, and jealousy, all set against the backdrop of the Olympic stage and the shock of a major scandal. I loved every second of it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Thompson

    THE YA GYMNASTICS NOVEL I’VE DREAMED OF SINCE 1996

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brooklyn Tayla

    RTC to come on Feb 28th, my posting date for the AusYABloggers review tour showcasing Break the Fall :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Neville Longbottom

    It’s kinda weird reading a book about the 2020 Olympics where there isn’t the threat of COVID-19 potentially cancelling or postponing the games. The US women’s gymnastics team has been named and they’re ready to train and take off for Tokyo to win gold medals. However, their lives get turned upside down when it’s revealed that the national team coach has been sexually abusing one of their teammates. Their personal coaches are taken away, they have to be interviewed by the FBI, and continue to tr It’s kinda weird reading a book about the 2020 Olympics where there isn’t the threat of COVID-19 potentially cancelling or postponing the games. The US women’s gymnastics team has been named and they’re ready to train and take off for Tokyo to win gold medals. However, their lives get turned upside down when it’s revealed that the national team coach has been sexually abusing one of their teammates. Their personal coaches are taken away, they have to be interviewed by the FBI, and continue to train while figuring out how to best support one another. This book is obviously influenced by the very real abuse that has gone on behind the scenes at USA Gymnastics. In a way it almost seems like wish fulfillment for having an organization that does everything the right way in the aftermath instead of continuing to fuck up, like USAG. In a perfect world this is how organizations, fans, and other teams would stand up to support survivors… but the way it was written in the book came off as a little bit cheesy and too easy. But maybe I’m just too cynical after watching things like this play out in real life over the years. One aspect of the book that I really did enjoy was that I could tell that the author is a gymnastics fan and knew what she was talking about. Also, it was nice that the cast of characters on the team were diverse like the real current rosters from USAG. However, I thought that the writing and the pacing here left a lot to be desired. There were so many different competitions where routine after routine were written out with a lot of telling rather than showing. It became really repetitive after a while. I’m not sure how enjoyable this book will be for people who aren’t already gymnastics fans. I definitely have a few issues with it, but I still enjoyed reading it. And even though I did think some parts were cheesy they also did tug on my heartstrings.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Hopkins

    Full disclosure, I have been friends with the author for the past eight years after I sold her my Olympic Trials tickets for gymnastics in 2012. We've since traveled the country for the sport, and knowing Jen was a writer, it wasn't a surprise when she began talking about working on a gymnastics-themed book sometime around 2015. Over the years I knew her #AngstyGymBook took many turns, but what she ultimately crafted was beyond what I could have imagined in its early days. Gymnastics aside, YA r Full disclosure, I have been friends with the author for the past eight years after I sold her my Olympic Trials tickets for gymnastics in 2012. We've since traveled the country for the sport, and knowing Jen was a writer, it wasn't a surprise when she began talking about working on a gymnastics-themed book sometime around 2015. Over the years I knew her #AngstyGymBook took many turns, but what she ultimately crafted was beyond what I could have imagined in its early days. Gymnastics aside, YA romance aside, it's an important commentary on the #MeToo movement, sexual assault, and more specifically, adults in positions of power who take advantage of the girls and young women they're supposed to protect. It sensitively but powerfully handles how survivors are often not believed, and how they're demonized by those who support the abuser as well as the media, and in the case of this book, by the survivor's very own teammates. Ultimately main character Audrey's response to learning about the abuse is heroic, and as the team begins to work together and recognize the importance of believing their teammate over protecting an abuser - even if it means potentially putting their dreams on the line - it creates a beautiful and touching show of friendship and solidarity, and why standing up for women and believing women is vital in the fight against abusive men and the organizations that cover up their crimes. I'm proud of the important discourse Jen has added to the YA genre, and I was also happy with the quality writing about gymnastics in general, which is so rare. If you're a fan of the sport, you'll appreciate a super accurate depiction of its rules and skills, but if you can't tell a tsuk from a Yurchenko, you'll still understand what's going on because everything is explained clearly and in a way that will have you wanting to learn more.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diana Urban

    I don’t usually read sports fiction, but I thought this book was amazing! I was blown away by the descriptions of the gymnastics routines and competitions; I could see them play out like a video in my mind. Sometimes I found myself tempted to look ahead and see the scores; I was so invested in these characters and what they’d accomplish. While anyone who loves gymnastics should check this out, it’s also a story about female friendships and overcoming adversity in the face of a trusted adult’s ep I don’t usually read sports fiction, but I thought this book was amazing! I was blown away by the descriptions of the gymnastics routines and competitions; I could see them play out like a video in my mind. Sometimes I found myself tempted to look ahead and see the scores; I was so invested in these characters and what they’d accomplish. While anyone who loves gymnastics should check this out, it’s also a story about female friendships and overcoming adversity in the face of a trusted adult’s epic betrayal. This is a 2020 must-read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Izzie

    (Thank you to my Mum for typing this for me). Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this eARC. This book follows the main character Audrey, who is training for the gymnastics Olympic team, despite having a back injury which causes chronic pain. The world of gymnastics is rocked when a team mate, Dani, comes forward to accuse their manager of grooming and sexual assault. Audrey is determined to keep the team together but between changing coaches, uncertain placing at the Olympics and facing (Thank you to my Mum for typing this for me). Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this eARC. This book follows the main character Audrey, who is training for the gymnastics Olympic team, despite having a back injury which causes chronic pain. The world of gymnastics is rocked when a team mate, Dani, comes forward to accuse their manager of grooming and sexual assault. Audrey is determined to keep the team together but between changing coaches, uncertain placing at the Olympics and facing what will be her last gymnastic competition, she feels overwhelmed and lost. What I Liked: - The discussion of sexual assault. This book is fantastic in the fact that the narrative is about the survivors, rather than the abuser. We don't focus on the act of what he did, or his denial. It is all about the girls and how they keep living and thriving after what has happened to them. Also I think it was both accurate and authentic to have a number of character react very differently to each other because no 2 people will cope in the same way. - Gymnastics. This book was thoroughly interesting in it's focus on gymnastics. I learnt so much about this incredible sport and it has put me in awe of what these athletes can do. I also enjoyed the setting at the Olympics, the high pressure and high risk kept me on the edge of my seat. - Feminism. One of this books stronger themes was friendship and sisterhood. It really showcased what can be achieved when women believe each other, advocate for each other and work together as a team. This made me tear up on multiple occasion as I felt proud of the characters and everything they achieved despite the challenges they faced. - Pain. This is one of the few books that I've come across which addresses chronic pain and the impact it has on a character. I found it to be empathetically handled and an accurate portrayal of not only the pain but all the emotions which it arouses. As a sufferer myself, I felt very seen by this book. What I Didn't Like: - The pacing. There were definitely some issues in that a lot of action would take place in a small number of pages and then there would be chapters that felt repetitive and unnecessary. It was just a bit too up and down for me. - The romance. Luckily this wasn't a prominent part of the plot but the scenes containing romance irritated me. It felt far too quick and there was not any development before words like"love" were being declared. Overall this was an emotional and impactful story exploring sexual assault and how you move forward after such trauma. As well as an inspiring look at feminism and female friendship. I would highly recommend it as a worthwhile read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tiff at Mostly YA Lit

    4.5 stars. Look, this was totally my catnip. Break the Fall is a YA gymnastics book by an author I love who does great romance, fierce girl characters, and deals with an issue that was ripped from the headlines but close to my heart. It doesn't hurt that Jenn Iacopelli is a gymnastics coach and knows everything about the sport. So yeah, probably I'm artificially inflating the score, but for reals, guys, I ripped through the bulk of this book in two days with no sleep because it just keeps the te 4.5 stars. Look, this was totally my catnip. Break the Fall is a YA gymnastics book by an author I love who does great romance, fierce girl characters, and deals with an issue that was ripped from the headlines but close to my heart. It doesn't hurt that Jenn Iacopelli is a gymnastics coach and knows everything about the sport. So yeah, probably I'm artificially inflating the score, but for reals, guys, I ripped through the bulk of this book in two days with no sleep because it just keeps the tension that tight that you HAVE TO KNOW. Audrey Lee is a Korean-American gymnast who is an Olympic hopeful. Together with her best friend and world champ Emma Sadowsky, she's been training for years for the chance to win an Olympic medal. At first, it seems that this dream is going off without a hitch - you know, other than the fact that Audrey is injured and has severe back pain but is pushing through. But when the head of the National Gymnastics Committee, Coach Gibson, is arrested for sexual assault against a fellow gymnast, everything spirals out of control. The ladies are left without a coach, with a few weeks left before the Olympics, and a lot of baggage and girl drama weighing them down. Can they make it to the Olympics and fulfill their dreams? Honestly, I don't want to go into too many details on the plot because this is one of those books that totally surprised me - and that's not normal. I'm the person who guesses the ending or the climax for every movie and TV show. But with Break the Fall, I was so invested that I couldn't guess what was going to happen - maybe because I was so tense for Audrey and her team the entire time. The characters are real and fully developed and have a lot of flaws...but you want to root for them all the time anyway. The core team of Audrey, Emma, Chelsea (the reigning champion beyond her prime years), and Dani (the up and comer) is so fierce that I was both delighted and dismayed for them the entire time - because what they have to deal with is so much more than they bargained for. What this book does so well is capture the repercussions of sexual assault, of long-term abuse and of how these girls, in this unique situation, need to face up to their fears again and again in order to succeed. And the other thing that makes it real and wonderful is that even though the coach's abuse looms large in everyone's hearts and minds, it doesn't define these characters. They are still them, they are fighting through this, and they're determined not to let anything get in the way of their dreams. Speaking of dreams, have I mentioned that there's also an awesome, super-romantic, slightly goofy boy that Audrey isn't really allowed to date? I loved how Jenn developed the relationship between Audrey and Leo. He suffered just a tiny bit from seeming a little too perfect - he was always there for Audrey and he always knew just the right thing to say - but honestly, I'm not complaining. She deserved him, and their moments together were always refreshing and so sweet. I so want an epilogue with those two. The Final Word: I've been chatty with Jenn for a long time on Twitter, first about her excellent tennis new adult series Game. Set. Match, and then about all things sports related, whether it's gymnastics and our love of the tv show Make It or Break It, or baseball or just random stuff. So I've been waiting for Break the Fall - her #angstygymbook a long time - and I'm so glad it delivers. If you love gymnastics, sports YA, or just want to read something gritty, real, and triumphant, this is your book. Read it before or during the Tokyo Olympics, or read it now and get obsessed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kiley

    Omg omg omg omg!!!! You have no idea how much I loved this book! It was a perfect YA Gymnastics Romance, and I think I am in LOVE with this book! Thank you to Epub for giving me this book for free over the quarantine. It is sooo hard to find a good gymnastics book, that ain’t nonfiction or totally childish. This was awesome. I’d give it a 15.9 in gymnastics and that is saying something. Also, thanks to Addison for recommending this book to me!

  19. 5 out of 5

    ⊱færies in space

    This book made me feel like I was watching the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and I loved it ❤️

  20. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    4.5 STARS Audrey hopes to make the Olympics before her body gives out. Her best friend, world champion Emma is a shoo in. Then a doping/abuse arrest rocks the US gymnastics team. Loyalties will be tested. Friends will turn on each other. A victim will be bullied. If they don’t pull together, the team expected to take the gold won’t have a shot. BREAK THE FALL is a book for gymnastics fans first and foremost. Routines on floor, vault, bars and beam are described in detail, which interested me as a 4.5 STARS Audrey hopes to make the Olympics before her body gives out. Her best friend, world champion Emma is a shoo in. Then a doping/abuse arrest rocks the US gymnastics team. Loyalties will be tested. Friends will turn on each other. A victim will be bullied. If they don’t pull together, the team expected to take the gold won’t have a shot. BREAK THE FALL is a book for gymnastics fans first and foremost. Routines on floor, vault, bars and beam are described in detail, which interested me as a fifty year fan of the sport, but might have non-fans skimming. As far as coach abuse, that angle of BREAK THE FALL is not unique. Strict abuser coach=bad. New compassionate coach=good. Mean girls=bad. Nice girls=good. I liked Audrey as the underdog, happy to take second place to her best friend finding her voice and leadership abilities. She had many strengths, yet wasn’t artificially positive or without flaws. I also enjoyed how the competition was unpredictable. Gymnastics lovers will devour BREAK THE FALL, other readers will probably not rate five stars.

  21. 5 out of 5

    lanasbookworld

    This book incarnates female empowerment and strength. And I absolutely loved it. It was just like being at the olympics in real life. You could feel all the excitement and the pressure. Furthermore I really liked Audrey, a smart,determined and ambitious girl and I could partly identify myself with her. 5/5⭐️

  22. 4 out of 5

    ashortbooklover

    Trigger warning: sexual assault (off-age), grooming, victim-blaming This book captivated me completely. I buddy read it with Sasha, otherwise I would've sped through it in one sitting. I have always been fascinated with gymnastics and these superhumans that compete within it. The sheer limits they push their body to, with artistry and flair to boot, is stunning to watch. Here, we're given a look behind the scenes, looking at the immense physical work and politics that go into this incredible sport Trigger warning: sexual assault (off-age), grooming, victim-blaming This book captivated me completely. I buddy read it with Sasha, otherwise I would've sped through it in one sitting. I have always been fascinated with gymnastics and these superhumans that compete within it. The sheer limits they push their body to, with artistry and flair to boot, is stunning to watch. Here, we're given a look behind the scenes, looking at the immense physical work and politics that go into this incredible sport. What I really enjoyed about the competitions was the sense of female solidarity, despite the nature of the events, there's a really strong undercurrent of support. Iacopelli discusses trauma and the complex, differing reactions to it so well. The characters have time to process their own experiences and reframe them to see the sinister undertones that truly existed in some heartbreaking but extremely powerful scenes. In no way is this an easy read, but it's one that brings up a timely and necessary conversation. Audrey is such a refreshing voice. She's not perfect, but she's supportive, incredibly easy to relate and ambitious. At times this ambition blinds her to events going on around her, but I got swept up with her and signs of manipulation and abuse can be so subtle that it's easy to miss the. I really wanted to hear more from her and hope that Iacopelli could possibly return to her story one day, to see what she does next. I particularly loved how the narrative was almost completely focused on the victims and their journey. It reverses the story we've seen over and over again, almost silencing the abuser. This is not his story and it should never be, instead this is the story of those that are often manipulated into silence. The reclamation of their own narratives and voices is such a strong core message of this powerful book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Tomé

    2.5/5 Gymnastics is one of my favourite sports that I 100% believe should receive more love, so when I saw this book on NetGalley I just hit the request button SO DAMN FAST. I will begin by saying that Jennifer clearly knows her gymnastics. I can't say for sure how this novel will read to a YA reader who is not familiar with the sport, but I think Jennifer did a pretty good job at depicting competitive gymnastics faithfully and clearly, explaining the concepts and the judging in a way that's easy 2.5/5 Gymnastics is one of my favourite sports that I 100% believe should receive more love, so when I saw this book on NetGalley I just hit the request button SO DAMN FAST. I will begin by saying that Jennifer clearly knows her gymnastics. I can't say for sure how this novel will read to a YA reader who is not familiar with the sport, but I think Jennifer did a pretty good job at depicting competitive gymnastics faithfully and clearly, explaining the concepts and the judging in a way that's easy to understand without negatively affecting the narration. That being said, this novel as *a novel* was a bit of a disappointment. Although the portrayal of gymnastics was very good, and the larger themes of sexual abuse and grooming were treated in a very sensitive way, I just couldn't get into the author's writing style. Jennifer's prose struck me as flat, in many occasions telling rather than showing. Moreover, the characters were pretty unidimensional and it was ultimately hard to get into Audrey's head. The love plot was mostly undeveloped and I just couldn't bring myself to root for Audrey and Leo, nor I understood why they liked each other in the first place or why there should be a romantic subplot at all. The pace was a bit underwhelming as well. Although the chapters set in the Olympics were pretty good, the chapters leading up to them (aka most of the novel) struggled a bit with the pacing and the placement of conflict, so much so that at times the only thing that kept me hooked was my interest in gymnastics rather than my love of the actual plot.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    When I was in Primary School, I devoured Teddy Slater’s Junior Gymnasts series. I wasn’t a gymnast myself, ballet/dancing was my after school activity, but I had this serious fascination with gymnastics and I adored the Junior Gymnasts books (still have them in a cupboard with my childhood favourite books). Break the Fall took me back to that time of fascination with gymnastic and ramped it up a notch! This book was emotional and thrilling and I couldn’t put it down! I loved how real that charac When I was in Primary School, I devoured Teddy Slater’s Junior Gymnasts series. I wasn’t a gymnast myself, ballet/dancing was my after school activity, but I had this serious fascination with gymnastics and I adored the Junior Gymnasts books (still have them in a cupboard with my childhood favourite books). Break the Fall took me back to that time of fascination with gymnastic and ramped it up a notch! This book was emotional and thrilling and I couldn’t put it down! I loved how real that characters felt, I love that it tackled a hard topic, while still having so much hope and excitement. I can’t wait for everyone else to get their hands on this one. Also, bring on the 2020 Olympics!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews

    This book was amazing! I've been wanting to read it since I heard about it, as I am a big fan of gymnastics. This book deals with a fictional version of the sex abuse scandal that hit US Gymnastics a couple years ago. I think it dealt with the topic of sexual assault in a caring manner. The reactions of characters were realistic, and covered a wide range of possibilities. I cried multiple times while reading the book, mostly once the characters reached the Olympics. The scene on the bus with the This book was amazing! I've been wanting to read it since I heard about it, as I am a big fan of gymnastics. This book deals with a fictional version of the sex abuse scandal that hit US Gymnastics a couple years ago. I think it dealt with the topic of sexual assault in a caring manner. The reactions of characters were realistic, and covered a wide range of possibilities. I cried multiple times while reading the book, mostly once the characters reached the Olympics. The scene on the bus with the Canadian gymnastics team started the waterworks, and they basically didn't stop until I finished the book. Audrey was an amazing heroine, and I can't wait to read more from this author!

  26. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Trigger warnings: grooming, sexual assault, slut shaming, bullying. 4.5 stars. I've been intrigued by this book since I first heard about it at the State Library of Victoria's YA Showcase last December. Because how could you NOT be intrigued by a book that's described as a gymnast pushing for the Tokyo Olympics with a #metoo subplot?? Anyway, I was a little hesitant going in about what content would be on the page as far as the #metoo stuff went. For those of you who are also hesitant, allow me Trigger warnings: grooming, sexual assault, slut shaming, bullying. 4.5 stars. I've been intrigued by this book since I first heard about it at the State Library of Victoria's YA Showcase last December. Because how could you NOT be intrigued by a book that's described as a gymnast pushing for the Tokyo Olympics with a #metoo subplot?? Anyway, I was a little hesitant going in about what content would be on the page as far as the #metoo stuff went. For those of you who are also hesitant, allow me to be spoilery: (view spoiler)[So it turns out that the head coach for the US gymnastics team has been grooming and abusing girls for years. One of the protagonist's teammates comes forward over it so it's mostly secondhand information. But in the course of hearing her teammate's story, the protagonist comes to realise that the coach was setting her up as his next victim. Nothing actually happened because he was arrested beforehand, but she still has that realisation (hide spoiler)] . ANYWAY. YA sports books are few and far between in my experience. So to have one that not only focuses on elite level gymnastics and does it well but one that has a powerful and relevant subplot was fantastic. I really liked the characters and the diversity. I loved the gymnastics side of it and I really wish it had come with little videos embedded in the book so that you could actually SEE the moves that she was talking about. The writing was solid, the different reactions to the #metoo plot were well handled, and on the whole, this was fabulous. My one very minor gripe is that I would have loved to see more of a) Tokyo itself and b) the Olympics outside of the gymnastics arena. I totally understand why we didn't see either of those things, but it still would have been nice...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tash

    Review to be posted on February 28th on the AusYABlogger blog for the #Breakthefall tour. Review to be posted on February 28th on the AusYABlogger blog for the #Breakthefall tour.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Samantha - She Writes About Books

    You can find my mini review over here on Instagram as part of the Aus YA bloggers tour. :) You can find my mini review over here on Instagram as part of the Aus YA bloggers tour. :)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

    I absolutely LOVED this book. As a former gymnast, this book was just so perfect. It brought me back to my competing days (high school, not Olympic!) and made me miss the best part of school. Every single page played like a movie in my head and some of the themes mirrored some things that actually happened in my gymnastics "career." It is so obvious the author either did her research (extremely well), or was a gymnast herself (or someone close to her). There were tiny details that just made my h I absolutely LOVED this book. As a former gymnast, this book was just so perfect. It brought me back to my competing days (high school, not Olympic!) and made me miss the best part of school. Every single page played like a movie in my head and some of the themes mirrored some things that actually happened in my gymnastics "career." It is so obvious the author either did her research (extremely well), or was a gymnast herself (or someone close to her). There were tiny details that just made my heart burst with happiness at how accurate they were and no one but a gymnast will understand. Things like you never know what will happen with floor music when you are competing. It doesn't start right, or it cuts out in the middle (yes this happened to me), the way people have different styles (dancing through a beam routine as opposed to attacking it), and not knowing what you are going to do with your life after the Olympics. That last one didn't happen to me, but it's so easy to imagine working for so many years for a dream you accomplish so young and have your whole life where you have to figure out what else you're going to do. I felt devastated after I graduated high school and didn't go to a college that had a gymnastics team. Every single routine described had me on the edge of my seat and brought me right back into the gym watching my own teammates compete. I never thought I would feel that again. I was so nervous and felt like really anything could happen (because it's gymnastics) even though the story was already written. I adored all the character...well most of them. They were so supportive of each other without really knowing one another before the Olympics and it's exactly how I imagined Olympic gymnasts to act towards one another (being someone who has closely followed Olympics gymnastics for the past few games, especially in '08). I love how Rey stepped into such a great leadership role and initiated such solidarity towards certain things. I loved her relationship with Emma, I thought it was so realistic. I loved Chelsea too, being the veteran, but also kind of stepping back and just doing her thing. That turquoise thing, so emotional! The writing style was so easy to read and kept me engaged every single page. The plot timeline was basically just training for the Olympics and the Olympics themselves, but it was so much more. It hit on such important topics. This is kind of implied in the synopsis, but this book deals with sexual abuse. It completely hit home for me. The gym I went to for over 10 years had almost the same thing happen with the owner. It completely devastated me and I was only in recreational classes. That man had been my coach, and I had even worked for him for a summer. I can't imagine it to the level that these girls had it. Through all this, the book had such a great balance (no pun intended) of competition rundown, dealing with the trauma, friendship, love, success and failures. There was a lot of specific routines in this book (aka the language of gymnastics) and I'm not sure how much someone clueless to gymnastics would understand. I don't think not knowing much about gymnastics would take away from the story, but as someone who has had gymnastics be a HUGE part of my life, this book was...I was going to say a perfect 10, but there is no 10 scale anymore! Let's so with a 15.4!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Luna

    When I was young, I adored gymnastics, I had absolutely no skills for this sport but that didn’t stop me from twirling around with a ribbon in a sports shop. I’m sure the staff were pleased. Break The Fall portrays gymnastics well. As a reader you have a very visual description of the skills portrayed, the process and judging. The timeline in the book isn’t very long and that helps in keeping your interest. It did take me a couple of chapters to get into the story and admittedly at times my inter When I was young, I adored gymnastics, I had absolutely no skills for this sport but that didn’t stop me from twirling around with a ribbon in a sports shop. I’m sure the staff were pleased. Break The Fall portrays gymnastics well. As a reader you have a very visual description of the skills portrayed, the process and judging. The timeline in the book isn’t very long and that helps in keeping your interest. It did take me a couple of chapters to get into the story and admittedly at times my interest waned. I think this is partly because there was a disconnect between me and the characters. I really enjoyed that this book told an important story of abuse and manipulation from another viewpoint. The fact that the focus remains on the goal of the ladies competing instead of the investigation is compelling. It’s about them, not what happened to them. I liked this. it does however mean that the sport is the main descriptive element and there isn’t much time to build an emotional connection as a reader, as such you feel a bit like you are looking in. Break The Fall has strengths because it’s a positive and supportive ally story. Audrey is likeable and there is a sense of justice in this book that you want given the events that unfold.

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