Publication: June 23, 2020 by Atria Books
Page Count: 336
Goodreads Synopsis: The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.
Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.
My Thoughts: I’ll admit, I signed up for the giveaway for Head Over Heels because I loved the cover. The colors are gorgeous together, and I have a soft spot for illustrated covers. It’s a bad habit to almost always expect any book with an illustrated cover to be one that I’ll love. That being said, this book absolutely met my expectations, even exceeding them.
Avery is a strong, smart female lead who could be a good inspiration for young girls. Throughout the book, she slowly discovers herself. By the end of the book, she knows her worth and knows what she deserves, which is inspiring.
I’ve got love/hate feelings toward Ryan and his relationship with Avery. I wanted them together, and wholeheartedly supported their relationship – for most of the book. There were moments when I couldn’t stand him and believed he could have been better. However, it was an important part of the story, and in the end, he redeemed himself.
I absolutely loved Hallie. She was a total sweetheart who was both serious about her passion, yet also full of life. There wasn’t a single moment that I wasn’t rooting for her. I’m so glad she got the happy ending she deserved.
I loved Jasmine and Sara as well, and I’m very glad Avery had both of them to rely on. They were both amazing friends, and I believe Avery deserved that after everything she went through. I’m proud of Jasmine for finally standing up for herself and everything she believes in.
Characters aside, Hannah Orenstein did an exceptional job at writing the storyline. Despite the book being fairly happy and lighthearted, it still covered several very serious, dark issues that need to be talked about more often. She shows that no matter who you are or what you do, you’re still at risk for the abuse that people can inflict and brings awareness to the darker side of sports.
Overall, I believe this is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. The characters were well-written, as was the basic plot of the story. I love that it brings awareness to the struggles young athletes – specifically female athletes – have to suffer with every day. It was a very sweet, touching book that I believe will stay with me for a long time.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway.
Trigger Warnings: This book mentions sexual assault, domestic abuse, verbal abuse, anxiety, and depression. There’s also a brief sexual scene.
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