The only thing seventeen-year-old Audrey Lee dreams about is swinging her way to Olympic glory. Nothing is going to stop her, not even the agony in her back. Every spasm and ache will be worth it once she has that gold medal around her neck. But none of her training prepares her for her coach being led away in handcuffs, accused by a fellow gymnast of theunthinkable. No one knows what, or who to believe and Audrey's teammates go into meltdown.
As the Olympic torch closes in, Audrey has no idea who to trust, let alone what life holds after her final dismount. The only thing she can do is hope that in theend, belief in herself and what's left of her team, will be enough for gold.
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 to 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 a story of those that are often manipulated into silence. The reclamation of your own narrative and voice is such a strong core message of this powerful book.
This review is by YA reviewer Emily Mitchell.