Not a Perfect Ten But…: Tumbling by Caela Carter

Five gymnasts. One goal.

Grace lives and breathes gymnastics—but no matter how hard she pushes herself, she can never be perfect enough.

Leigh, Grace’s best friend, has it all: a gymnastics career, a normal high-school life…and a secret that could ruin everything.

Camille wants to please her mom, wants to please her boyfriend, and most of all, wants to walk away.

Wilhelmina was denied her Olympic dream four years ago, and she won’t let anything stop her again. No matter what.

Monica is terrified. Nobody believes in her—and why should they?

By the end of the two days of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials, some of these girls will be stars. Some will be going home with nothing. And all will have their lives changed forever.


Obviously, with the Olympics on I have been watching a lot of gymnastics.  While my favorite Olympic sport is figure skating, in the summer games I love watching the gymnastics and it seems like unlike with YA books focusing on figure skating  I actually liked Carter’s book.

The book itself takes place over the two days of the Olympic trials in multiple point of views.  I will say that each character seemed to have a unique voice so the multiple view points weren’t bad.

That’s always a good thing.

I also liked that the book focused primary on the competition, rather than extraneous stuff.  Though, of course, details about the gymnasts lives outside the gym  were explored a bit.  But only in the sense that it applied to what was going on in their lives at the time of the trials.  I think that it focused on the competition, the cut throatness of what occurs in those few hours of competition was what made the book such a success rather than a blunder.

Carter also obviously did her research as well which was nice too.

The characters, like I said, all have their own distinct voice and some are more likable than others.  But even the ones that weren’t as likable you could still get a sense of understanding for why they were the way they were.  Though, even though Carter left the book on a hopeful note for changes for a certain character I don’t hold up much hope for her.

Scratch that, there were actually two characters I didn’t like but unlike the first character the second character I thought was a little more redeemable.

There is some bull shitty drama that was a little eye roll worthy towards the end of the book that knocked it down from being exactly perfect.  I mean, while a characters accident was a little popcorn eating worthy to read it wasn’t needed and just added unnecessary drama.  There was also a subplot about eating disorders that sort of appeared out of nowhere as well, but I sort of understood why Carter put it in there, but it was a little after school special.

I think what really worked for me though was that it seemed pretty realistic, or as realistic about a group of elite gymnasts is going to get.  You had characters that were pretty multifaceted whose lives evolved around their sport-some more than others.  Each handling it differently.  While I do think the outcome of the trials was a bit cliche in some regards, I’m overall pretty happy with this one and recommend it if you’re a lite gymnastics fan-if you know the sport more rigorously than I do you may not like it as much.

Overall Rating: A B+


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