Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Published July 2016 by Little, Brown and Company
Source: my copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
How far will you go to achieve a dream? That's the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits—until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk.
As rumors swirl among the other parents, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers—about her daughter's fears, her own marriage, and herself—forces Katie to consider whether there's any price she isn't willing to pay to achieve Devon's dream.
Coming out, as this one did, right before the Summer Olympics this year, I found myself interested in reading about a subject I might otherwise not have had much interest in. I mean, I have never been able to do a cartwheel, let alone a back hand spring or a Yurochenko. But it being Olympic time, I suddenly become fascinated by the athleticism, grace, courage, and confidence world-class gymnasts have. And the commitment and sacrifices their families have to make to help them reach those heights.
Plus, the promise of a mystery and the lure of Megan Abbott, who I'd only heard great things about, had me eager to read this one.
The book is less about the sport itself and more about the people who make it their lives - the high cost; the fight to have the right coach, the right equipment; the strain on finances and time; the infighting and gossip. The relationships between the gymnasts' parents felt spot on - the jealousies, the group focus on the best that can unite and divide, the camaraderie. You know, a lot like teenage girls.
When she did drop down onto the gym floor, Abbott didn't always get it right, for me and it sometimes took me out of the flow of the story. For example, when her focus shifted to the athletes at work, Devon was always working on the horse. There was a reason for this, tied to the story line, but it didn't seem plausible.
Now the mystery, the mystery kept me guessing. I really enjoyed the way Abbott slowly revealed the truth about the what happened to the young man we know early on has died, the red herrings that she threw out along the way. Even more, I enjoyed the unreliability of looking at things from Katie's point of view, the question of what we might do for the people we love, and the question of how much we really know about those same people.