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Kid Konnection: Gold Medal Summer

August 4, 2012

Fourteen year old Johanna (Joey) Jordan has been participating in gymnastics as long as she can remember.  In order to be a competitive gymnast, her life must revolve around the sport.  That means lots of exercise and practice, eating healthy, plenty of rest, and no boys.  Joey works hard because she wants to win a gold medal like her sister did several years ago.  Her sister tells her,

But the thing about gymnastics is that the better you get, the worse everything about being in the sport gets.

Joey’s determined and stick with it, though,

Because sometimes, very rarely, but once in a while, you have this perfect day when you win — maybe you win it all. . .

The summer brings lots of distractions, though, and Joey has decide if being a competitive gymnast is worth the sacrifices.

Gold Medal Summer by Donna Freitas is a wonderful middle grade book.  I thoroughly enjoyed the peek into the life of a young competitive athlete.  The author was a competitive gymnast for seven years so the book had an authentic feel to it.  I knew competing at the level these young athletes do isn’t easy, but I had no idea the pain and sacrifice they endure.

Joey is a great character.  She’s dedicated to her sport but is also a typical teenage girl.  She wants to have it all but quickly realizes that’s not possible.  I think many young girls, particularly those who participate in sports, will be able to relate to her.   I urged her to make the right decision, even though I wasn’t always sure what it was.  I admired her spunk and drive and loved that she was trying to make her dream a reality.

Joey’s family and friends added a lot to the story too.  Because of the time spent with gymnastics, Joey’s world was pretty insular so all of her friends were gymnasts too.  Her family was supportive of Joey but not overbearing.

I read Gold Medal Summer during the Olympics and it really made me think about the sacrifices some athletes make.  For those who are able to compete at the highest level, those sacrifices seem worth it, but what about those who don’t make it that far?  I think this book would be a great choice for mother-daughter book clubs because they’d find plenty to discuss!

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Scholastic. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2012 7:12 am

    I had not heard of this book before. Now I want to read it. I love gymnastics and middle grade fiction. This one sounds like it has great characters and deals with an interesting dilemma.

  2. August 4, 2012 8:00 am

    Perfect reading for the Olympics! The gymnasts are always so young…

  3. August 4, 2012 8:07 am

    I used to watch a TV show that dealt with this subject – young girls in gymnastics, and it was a sad peek into a different world. Sounds like this book did justice to the subject – I will be eager to check it out.

  4. August 4, 2012 8:12 am

    My son loved gymnastic when I put him into it, but he would not want to do it competitively. There are a few psychological issues when children compete and I would not want my kids to go through that.

  5. bookingmama permalink
    August 4, 2012 8:48 am

    You had perfect timing with this book too! I can’t believe how much these gymnasts give up to compete in the Olympics.. and then you have to consider how many give up everything and don’t even make it that far. Amazing sacrifice!

  6. August 4, 2012 12:48 pm

    Nice review. And very topical with the Olympics 🙂

  7. August 4, 2012 9:44 pm

    Great timing. I am amazed whenever I here the stories of what these girls and their families give up to go for the dream. I have to admit that I’m not sure it’s worth it.

  8. August 6, 2012 7:45 pm

    I received a copy of this one in the mail awhile back and passed it on to The Girl. She’s so glad to see you enjoyed it!

  9. August 8, 2012 6:08 pm

    This looks like a great one…with great shelf appeal and perfect timing for the Olympics! I hadn’t heard of it but I think it would be a great one for my younger sister!

  10. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    August 11, 2012 10:06 pm

    This one is going on my list to order!!

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