Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein
Head Over Heels focuses on Avery Abrams, a retired gymnast as she struggles to put her life back together after she fell during the Olympic trials, and in the wake of a high profile breakup. She returns to her hometown of Greenwood, MA to recover and re-evaluate her life. There she is approached by Ryan, another retired elite gymnast who now coaches at the gym where she trained. He is looking for an assistant coach for promising sixteen-year-old Hallie, who struggles with floor routines, Avery’s specialty. At first Avery is reluctant to take the job, wanting to completely leave the world of gymnastics behind. But when she realizes how much Hallie needs her, she agrees. When sexual assault scandals come out in the gymnastics community, Avery must face the impact of her years of training before she can begin to heal.
I thoroughly enjoyed Head Over Heels. I loved how it focused on a retired gymnast observing the demanding nature of the training she went through, while helping a younger gymnast achieve her dreams. The story is told entirely in the first person from Avery’s perspective. Avery has so much personal growth over the course of the novel. She’s a great character, as are all the gymnasts in the story. There’s a major focus on healing and forgiveness in Head Over Heels, and though the novel touches on some heavy topics, the overall tone of the book is optimist and light.
I have a soft spot for dramas about gymnastics and Head Over Heels really stacks up. Whether you are a fan of gymnastics or not, I think there’s something in this story for everyone! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good story with a strong and powerful message.
Thank you to Atria and Netgalley for my review copy! All opinions are my own.