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.
For those of you not in the know, Sean Johnson is a 2008 Olympic Gold medal gymnast who decided to write a YA book. Actually, it’s ghost written-but that should really be pretty obvious if you read through the title page.
Honestly, I think the only reason Sean Johnson’s name was put on the book was to sell it. If it would’ve been any other YA book, the book would’ve easily been a big fat failure. And it honestly was for me, but understanding that this book’s origins kind of made me a little bit more forgiving. I have read way, way, worse YA books with celebrities names thrown on it. It still wasn’t a good book though.
I think a part of my problem was, I was expecting that this book would have a lot to do with gymnastics in the vein of Tumbling. The gymnastics though, were more or less an afterthought which was sad. Because again, I read the books for the gymnastics. Instead, what I got was a watered down version of the first Princess Diaries book but without the royalty stuff. Instead, we get the very same protagonist has a secret that would get her a lot of publicity but tries to hide it by going to normal school.
Full disclosure, The Princess Diaries handles these plot devices in a much more compelling way. Even the movie, which was a watered down version of the book handled these themes in a much more compelling and relative way.
Here, I just felt like the book was being idiotic and almost had the-I’m With Stupid Feel to it. Because really there was no reason that anyone who was friends with Charlie (the main character) wouldn’t be able to figure out her secret. I mean, you’d think that Zoe-Charlie’s so called bestie-would’ve been a little bit more than suspicious with her behavior. And you know, being a gymnast that Charlie’s diet had to be ridiculously insane and you’d think that would be noticeable if not the muscles that girl obvious had too.
Probably what bothered me the most about this book was how phoned in it sounded. And while I expected as much, seeing how it was ghostwritten, it could’ve been so much more. And I guess that the fact that this book was packaged and obvious written as a profit was the only thing that saved it for a dismal rating . It was literally what I expected and that was sort of sad.
If you want a YA book about gymnastics I wouldn’t read this one. Gymnastics barely play a role in the book, it’s more or less about a teenager hiding a secret from her bestie and lame boyfriend who has the personality of cardboard. Oh, and there’s some lame incident where she’s hit by a roller bladder and she worries she might not be able to compete at the trials-spoiler alert, she’s okay.
Overall, I’d say if you want to more about gymnastics read Tumbling instead.
Overall Rating: A C very, very, average and what you’re expecting.