Thursday, October 17, 2013
Long Walk Press/ August 1, 2013
I've gotten used to the dead parents face. I've gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I've even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that's made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan - being around him, talking to him, thinking about him - makes me feel like I can finally breath again. That's something I haven't been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it's like to wonder - what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you're struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be . . , maybe. . . probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can't happen, can it? But kissing him. . . well, let's just say it's not an easy activity to forget.
Big thanks to Li by way of Nath for this great recommendation! This is what I love about the blogging community - finding out about wonderful books I might not have heard of if not for other bloggers.
Letters to Nowhere was such a surprise in number of ways. First off, while I enjoyed watching gymnastics when I was a kid, I wouldn't call myself a big fan. So I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my venture into the world of competitive gymnastics. It's an intense look at the girls and how they their lives center around this highly competitive sport. Cross does a great job of setting the scene and giving enough information about the sport without overwhelming the reader.
Karen Campbell has been working hard for years to reach her ultimate dream of competing in the Olympics. That dream was shared by her parents but now they are gone, killed in a car accident, leaving Karen alone. Karen's grandmother is willing to take her in but it feels like it comes more from obligation than true desire. So Karen's gymnastic's coach steps in and agrees to have Karen live with him and he will act as her guardian. It's an interesting situation since Coach Bentley's home is occupied by himself and his teenage son.
Karen's world is gymnastics. She's had little of what is considered typical teenage experiences. So when she moves in with Jordan she's exposed to a teenage boy with teenage interests and teenage hormones. It's interesting to see Karen experience what life has to offer outside of gymnastics. She also gets to know her coach better and see him beyond his coaching and as someone who has experienced great loss and lived through it.
The development of the romance between Karen and Jordan is a realistic look at teenage romance even thought these teens have experienced very different childhoods from what would be considered typical. I liked how it wasn't this instant surge of hormones. Instead the author allowed Karen and Jordan to slowly get to know each other and become friends first.
The letters themselves are a fascinating look at what Karen wants to say but isn't ready or simply can't. The letters contains emotions and fears she's afraid to let go of as well as documenting her progress in grieving her parents deaths.
Even if you don't usually read the young adult genre, I would recommend giving Letters to Nowhere a try.
Letters to Nowhere Series ~
Letters to Nowhere
Return to Sender (November 15, 2013)*
*The author stated "the remaining books will be released in shorter more frequent installments, basically TV episode style."