The Flip Side [ARC Review] by Shawn Johnson (& A.L. Sonnichsen)
Genre: Romance, Gymnastics
Publication date: June 7, 2016
Format: I received an ARC from the publisher (Thank You Simon and Schuster!)
You can purchase a copy here: http://tinyurl.com/j9mvd4y
Summary from Amazon:
From gold medalist and reality TV star Shawn Johnson comes a debut YA novel inspired by her own experiences as an elite teenage gymnast—just in time for the Summer 2016 Olympic games.
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.
Inspired by her own experiences as a fifteen-year-old Olympic gymnast, gold medalist Shawn Johnson writes a delightfully entertaining novel about chasing big dreams and falling in love, all while trying to keep it real.
One of the top reasons that I requested this ARC was because it is written by Shawn Johnson, an Olympic Gold Medalist and I absolutely adore her. Especially with the 2016 Summer Olympics coming up in August, the timing of the release of this book is perfect. The only event that I make sure I watch every time is gymnastics and I remember watching Shawn Johnson in 2008 and thinking how cool it must be. I could go on all day to talk about Shawn Johnson and her accomplishments but I’m guessing the real reason you’re here is to read my review right?
I think it was about a year ago when I read Winning Balance, Shawn Johnson’s memoir and I like her concept of now writing a novel based on her crazy and successful life. I think with this novel, she can reach more of the younger audiences, especially those whose reading levels may not be high enough to read a memoir.
Since Amazon’s summary doesn’t really talk about the book as much as I would like, I’m going to write my own summary here:
The book follows Charlie Rylands, an elite gymnast who is leading a double life. She tries to keep her gymnastic life away from her classmates, as she wants to have a normal teenage life, while attending public school among her other sophomore classmates. . She has no margin for error as it is only a couple months away from the Olympic trials. Most other girls at her school are busy planning on how they’re going to get a date to prom and what dress to wear by Charlie’s got a plan. Within her plan, there is no room for a hot guy, or anything else.
Along with her 2 best friends, who have never met each other, Charlie braves school with Zoe, under the name Charlotte, and gymnastics before and after school with Gwen, a shoo-in for Team USA’s women’s gymnastics team. Of course, secrets always find a way to get out and suddenly, everything in Charlie’s life gets turned upside down.
At first I thought that Charlie was like a 11-12 year old in middle school or something. I don’t know why but that was my gut instinct.
I really liked Charlie. She was motivated by her goals but understandably got distracted by school and forgot about what she should be doing. I really liked the ‘normal’ family dynamics in the book; with her parents both working and her brother going to the same school as her.
Gwen's friendship with Charlie is also amazing. Gwen is Charlie’s friend at gymnastics and the only one other than her family and coaches that knows about her double life. She’s a firm believer that it will only lead to trouble but supports
The book was unpredictable at points. There was a lot of times in the book where it felt like, holy shit, is she going to make the team? There was a lot of feels going on while reading and I can still barely contain my emotions about it. The ending was EVERYTHING. Like all the feels. It just hit me hard emotionally. I don’t want to say anything about the ending that may spoil it but seriously, it was so good.
I also really liked the cover of the book. I mean, just take a second and look at it. It’s so bright and colorful without being overwhelming to the eye. The main focus is on the girl (I’m assuming it’s Charlie) preparing to do a flip on the bench and the guy sitting on the bench and reading. The cover really relates to the title and it draws a lot of attention to the book, especially if it’s sitting on the shelves at the stores.
Overall I give the book a 9/10 (which rounds up to 5/5 stars). I really enjoyed it and it’s a perfect read for the summer and right before the Olympics. It’s very well written and it’s important to mention that A.L. Sonnichsen co-wrote the book (is it called ghost written?) with Johnson. I think it’s amazing that Shawn took her own personal experiences and turned it into something people will love reading. I really wish that others like her will also do that in the future. I recommend the book to anyone who loves gymnastics and/or is looking for a good summer read for before the Olympics.
What’d you think about my review? Will/have you read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter @BrookeEvans2001. :)
Brooke's a high schooler who loves to read all sorts of books. She's happy to be able to share all the books she's reading with all of y'all.