Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Flip Side

27206534Johnson, Shawn and Sonnichsen, A.L.  The Flip Side
June 7th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

High school student Charlotte has a huge secret-- she's really a premier gymnast who may make the Olympic team, but she hides her identity by using "Charlie" when she is in the news. Along with her friend Gwen, who is home schooled, Charlotte keeps up with the grueling schedule of practices and meets, so her homework suffers a bit. Her best friend at school, Zoe, knows nothing of her other life, so is always trying to get her to date. In particular, there is a wrestler, Bobby, who seems to be on Charlotte's wave length. When Bobby and Charlotte get to spend more time together at student council (where she ends up in a desperate attempt to earn extra credit for social studies class), he asks her to prom. Realizing that she wants a "normal" life almost as much as she wants to be on the Olympic team, Charlotte agrees. After some subterfuge, she makes it to prom... only to have the evening end disastrously. Her double life is exposed, and she has to deal with possibly not being able to compete for the team while having to put her life back together. 
Strengths: This had so many things going for it. Great main character who Has a Plan and is trying to stick to it. Light romance that is pleasant and realistic. Lots of descriptions of gymnastics and all of the attendant details of practices, meets, etc. Supportive, if a little clueless, family. Friend drama. I need a lot more books about girls who participate in sports, and gymnastics is particularly hard to find. (Freitas' Gold Medal Summer is one of the few out there.)
Weaknesses: I found it hard to believe that she could successfully compartmentalize her life and that she didn't tell Zoe about her gymnastics. Made for a good story, but it didn't ring true. 
What I really think: More. More just like this. A lot more. Right now. 


Jennifer Schultz said...

Glad to read this. I ordered a bunch of sports/Olympics themed books (nonfiction books about Olympics are rather sparse this year, unfortunately), and this is one of them.

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