From gold medalist and reality TV star Shawn Johnson comes an “absorbing portrait of a young athlete’s quest to achieve her Olympic dreams” (Kirkus Reviews) inspired by her own experiences as an elite teenage gymnast.
Charlie Ryland has a secret.
She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending.
Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.
Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson writes a delightfully entertaining novel about chasing big dreams and falling in love, all while trying to keep it real.
Johnson, an Olympic gold-medalist gymnast and memoirist (Winning Balance), segues into fiction with this YA debut. Sophomore Charlie Ryland, who's contending for a spot on the U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics team, is keeping her athletic life a secret from her classmates: "In order to maintain some semblance of normality in my life, I perform a balancing act." That balance topples when she severely sprains her ankle while attending prom with her crush, against the wishes of her protective parents. The accident is doubly devastating, as it jeopardizes Charlie's Olympic dreams and makes public her status as an elite gymnast. Writing with Sonnichsen (Red Butterfly), Johnson offers crisp accounts of Charlie's grueling gymnastic training and physical and mental fortitude, while also credibly conveying her anguish at maintaining dual identities and her remorse at the hurt that her deceptions cause. Though there's little doubt that Charlie will stick the landing, so to speak, in the novel's exhilarating finale, readers will be drawn into her passionate devotion to both spheres of her life. Ages 12 up.
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Charming & enjoyable read!
THE FLIP SIDE by Shawn Johnson is a charming, enjoyable read. The story follows a 15 year old gymnast named Charlie Ryan who is training for the Olympic trials and attempting to keep her athletic life a secret from her friends at public school.
The plot is relatively predictable, but it still manages to be a fun read. There were a few pieces of dialogue I found slightly distracting (a teenage boy would never use the phrase “I need to scoot”), but other than that I was impressed. The story flowed easily and the characterizations were adorable.
Perfect read to get you in the mood for the upcoming Summer Olympics!