Break the Fall – a book review

Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli was released Feb 18th.

I finished it in less than 24 hours.

That’s surprising since I’m decidedly NOT the target audience for Young Adult / Teen romance.

This novel is heavy on Gymnastics, light on the typical YA cliché teen crushes and rivalries.

Jennifer: For me, when writing sports fiction, the sport itself is what the plot will stem from, so it’s almost impossible for me to write a book about sports that doesn’t heavily include the competition, practices and training that would be a major part of any athlete’s life.

Often we’ll see books about an athlete that’s injured or an athlete that had to give up their sport as an exploration of their identity away from the thing they love, but that’s been done so much, I’m more interested in what it takes to strive to compete at the highest levels, to try to win and what happens when you do (or don’t).  …

And the Gymnastics is well informed.

I assumed Jennifer was an ex-gymnast or coach, but she’s actually a kick-butt librarian.  Her sports were tennis and softball.

Jennifer: “… what I worked on the most was making sure the gymnasts were portrayed as realistically as possible, in and out of the gym. …”

The American National Team Director is lead away in handcuffs, accused of tampering with drug test results. Later charged with sexual assault.

When the rest of the Federation supports him, the equivalent of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee suspends the equivalent of USAG and delivers the U.S. Olympic team to a new coach only weeks before the Tokyo Olympics.

That’s a good plot device.

Jennifer loosely based the new Olympic coach on Kim Zmeskal.

She was inspired to write a Gymnastics novel after following the Nassar / USAG scandal: “… people in a position of power abusing athletes or failing to protect athletes from abuse …”

The story starts at Olympic trials 2020. Ends on the last day of Apparatus Finals in Tokyo.

If you are wondering whether your gymnasts should read this book it does have a lot of profanity. And there is discussion of sexual abuse though none of that is graphic.

The audio version is available on Scribd and Audible.


Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

New book published February 18, 2020. Available in audio, as well.

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. …


It includes discussions about sexual assault.

Read some reviews on GoodReads.

Terin Humphrey has a NEW book

“In the Middle” is a broad story of Olympic medalist Terin Humphrey’s journey through life.

It is a unique perspective of being “In the Middle” of gymnastics, careers, decisions, life, etc.

Unlike most Olympians’ books; it is not a story about her Olympic journey, but life after the Olympics.Most athletes live their lives being only an athlete. Once they are finished, their lives change. They struggle with their life after the sport.

Terin chronicles her experiences after the Olympics in hopes of helping others that are going through similar situations.

In The Middle: Thoughts and Lessons Learned from an Olympic Medalist

After a great career, recall that the USAG Athlete’s Council voted to remove Terin from her position as women’s gymnastics athlete representative.

Diana Bulimar – children’s book

Diana Bulimar was a Romanian artistic gymnast and a 2-time European Champion with Romania. She was part of the Romanian team at the 2012 Summer Olympics that won the bronze medal. …

She has a D-leap on Beam.

And now a children’s book in Romania.


Abigail Pesta’s The Girls

I haven’t read The Girls yet.

But here’s one review:

The survivors and those who advocate for them are the only voices telling the story. This is partially due to the fact that numerous others in the larger investigation—people who have been subsequently fired, charged or outed as having aided Nassar—refused to comment or never responded to Pesta’s requests.

Pesta also makes no effort to explain Nassar’s motivations or to locate the “man” behind the “monster.” It’s a choice that makes the book stronger, and as a true crime story, it makes a case for how these narratives can be told in a victim-centering way. …

Abigail Pesta’s The Girls Succeeds by Solely Giving a Voice to Sexual Assault Survivors—Not Their Abuser