Break the Fall Review

Title: Break the Fall
Author: Jennifer Iacopelli
Publisher: Hodder's Children's Books
Publication Date: 20 February 2020
Source: Pan Macmillan South Africa
Format: ARC
Pages: 322
Rating: 3.75
Goodreads Synopsis:

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? 


Book Review:
Pre-reading Thoughts:

I am a massive fan of gymnastics. It is one of the few sports I like to consume in every format. There is just something about the skill that is needed to perform the different events that fascinate me. I am is excited to jump into this book because not only is about a young woman making her way to the Olympics but it also addresses the serious topic of sexual assault and abuse of power.

Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan South Africa for providing me with a copy of this book! Just a quick disclaimer for those reading this review, I have received this book for free. Please note that this does not affect my opinion in any kind of way. All thoughts are my own. 

Writing Thoughts:

It did take me a while to get into the writing of the book but I soon found myself flipping through the pages like there was no tomorrow. The dialogue did feel a little unnatural in beginning but with time, it seemed to flow better and get smoother. The author did a fantastic job of describing gymnastics and creating a high-intensity atmosphere. 

Plot Thoughts:

I really liked the direction the plot took. It wasn't too hyper-focused on the sexual assault or on the journey to the Olympics, instead, it did a fantastic job of balancing the two plot points. Gymnastics is the heart of the book and I enjoyed how we went through the motions such as training and competitions. There were several scenes that I wished we got to see a little more as they felt as if they zoomed passed. There were some inconsistencies at the beginning that didn't really make sense to me but as we progress through the story, they fade to the background.

Character Thoughts:

Audrey wasn't always a likeable character for me. I felt as if I struggled to connect with her every couple of pages but did find some camaraderie in her feelings of working in a team. I liked the other characters in the team as well but felt that this wasn't a very character-driven story. 

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I really liked this book. I think it does a great job of addressing several different topics from sexual assault and abuse of power to the stresses of training for something as big as the Olympics. Beyond the tackling of important topics, the has a very heart-warming story at the base of it. The characters are likeable but not well developed and the writing is easy to get into, even if it took a minute to get into. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love for gymnastics and a passion for sports. Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan South Africa for providing me with a copy of this book!

Yours in Reading,
Melleny 

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