Day one of the ‘2020 A-Z Reading Challenge, albeit a day late! I apologise for the delay in getting this one out – I’ve been absolutely exhausted mentally after work. Still, it’s the start of a week and some
well deserved annual leave. Let’s revisit the rules of the challenge before we dive into today’s book. The rules of the challenge are simple: one book for twenty-six days. Every day the title of the book I read has to begin with that specific letter of the alphabet.
Of course the second letter of the alphabet is ‘B’ and so today’s read is Jennifer Iacopelli’s brilliant tale of Break the Fall. The book has been floating around my to-be-read list since early February and there just hasn’t been much time to get around to it. Actually, that’s a total lie because Coronavirus gave me plenty of time – I’ve just spent my time doing other things. I’ll admit now that I massively regret not picking this book up sooner!
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?
When I originally set out to read Break the Fall, I was under the assumption the novel would mainly be focussed around a sports romance of some kind. I’m not sure why – the synopsis definitely does not give this impression – so when I began to read the story, I was pleasantly surprised. The plot follows Audrey Lee, a Korean American athlete with a spinal injury and the determination to at least make it through the Japan Olympics. I have no intention of spoiling the plot but I’ll admit it is one laced with scandal along the way.
The book deals with modern themes such as the #MeToo Movement and shows that such horrors can be experienced across all professions and all ages. It is handled tastefully yet honestly – from characters believing the testimony to other characters denying it. Such is always the case in these situations. We as a society as so quick to point the fingers at the victims and question whether they deserved it, or even worse, they are lying about it. I appreciated Iacopelli’s handling of the sexual abuse theme and the outcome that arose towards the end of the book.
In no way, however, is this story a sad book. The beauty of Break the Fall is that it is an empowering tale of girls who face the possibilities of their dreams being crushed with determination and strength. It is a leap forward for modern-day feminism as girls pull together through anything to help build each other up. There is such a good, positive message to be taken from the book. Teamwork makes the dream work, and that the other cheesy cliché lines you could possibility fit in. Still, I finished the book with satisfaction and a smile – and so that is a win in itself for me.
Audrey is a fantastic protagonist. Her willpower is unrivalled, pushing herself to exceed in the most prestigious athletic competition in the world. I loved how she was loyal to herself and to her friends. She stood up for what she thought was right; led the team but still managed to remain humble. Audrey is the kind of girl I hope young girls aspire to be. Leo was, for lack of other words, a dream boat. I could completely understand the appeal and the boy was smooth at points. While I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get to see much of his relationship forming with Audrey, I’m glad we got to see him. Dani, Emma and the rest of the team were also so incredible as characters. I even have to admit that Sierra, who I absolutely despised because she is such a terrible person, is written so well. She depicted the gossiping, deceptive mean girls you come across sometimes in the world and her lack of empathy or sympathy is both honest and disturbing. It was important for her to be part of the story, because her disbelief of the facts is so brutally true to today’s world.
Overall the book took me about three hours to read if that. I was pretty glued to the storyline and I wanted to see what happened to Audrey. The book was easy to read, yet felt like a published book should – polished, care about. The tone was serious at times but the sheer determination of the girls radiated through and made me feel inspired. I loved the book and because of that, I’m unable to fault it. This will be a book I return to when I need a little inspiration and feel-good to cheer me up.
Remember that not everybody will have the same opinion! Something that worked for me might not work for you, and visa versa. The whole internet has an opinion, so check out a few others before you decide to dish or ditch this book!
Annie @ Dreaming of Cats says “I’m still reeling after finishing it, this was AMAZING.”
Nikki @ Books and Lemon Squash says “Highly recommend this book.”
Fenland Tales says “I did enjoy being with Rey on her journey, and her character was well rounded and likeable without being a pushover.”
It is common that, depending on geographical location or time of publication, that one book may have several different covers. This is common across differing publishing houses. My favourite is the one on the left because it’s just so beautiful.
Jennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave, ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favorite authors were L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett, both of whom wrote about kick-butt girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-butt. As a high school librarian, she frolics all day with her students, books and computers and writes at night while cheering on her beloved Yankees. Follow her on twitter and instagram, @jennifercarolyn.
Another book down, another review uploaded! Can you name a book you want to know more about but can’t find on my blog? Something stuck on your TBR list? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think. All read requests are acknowledged and appreciated! Until next time guys,
One response to “Book Review ♡ Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli (A-Z Reading Challenge)”
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