Dominique Moceanu (www.dominique-moceanu.com) is the author of the
"New York Times "best-selling "Dominique Moceanu: An American
Champion." As a member of the women's gymnastics team, she won a
gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games. She now tours the country as
an ambassador for the sport, doing clinics and summer camps and
speaking with young gymnasts. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with
her husband and two children.
Alicia Thompson (www.alicia-thompson.com) is the author of the young adult novel "Psych Major Syndrome." She also co-wrote an updated version of "The Secret Language of Birthdays "for teens, and has contributed stories to "Girls' Life." She lives with her husband and son in Riverview, Florida.
Together, they are the authors of The Go-for-Gold Gymnasts series: Winning Team and "Balancing Act" plus "Reaching High "and "Unexpected Twist "(both scheduled for Summer 2012).
Olympic gold medalist Moceanu pairs up with Thompson (Psyche Major
Syndrome) for this first book in the Go-for-Gold Gymnasts series.
When 12-year-old Britt and her parents relocate from Ohio to Texas
so that she can train at an elite gymnastics facility, she is both
apprehensive about the move and excited about belonging to a team.
But fitting in with her teammates isn't easy. That Britt isn't
entirely portrayed as an innocent victim who's snubbed as an
outsider enhances the story's authenticity. She isn't blameless:
she's prone to hurtful gaffes, and her attempts at humor often
misfire. Trying to do the right thing, she further alienates her
peers when she breaks a teammate's confidence. Britt's repeated
identification with characters from To Kill a Mockingbird (which
she's reading with her grandmother, who homeschools her) are
sometimes forced. But her longing to belong and
loneliness-amplified by Britt's mother's preoccupation with
work-are moving. Gymnasts will appreciate the insider language and
details drawn from Moceanu's knowledge and experience.
Simultaneously available: Balancing Act. Ages 10 14. PW"
Finally, young female gymnasts have a book to call their own in this first title in The Go-for-Gold Gymnasts series, co-authored by Olympic gold medalist Moceanu. Having recently achieved Junior Elite status, Brittany Morgan (who's 12 but looks like a 9-year-old) and her family uproot from Ohio to Austin, Texas, so Brittany can train with the prestigious Texas Twisters and continue her path to the Olympics. The overconfident, homeschooled girl's biggest chance to make new friends is with fellow trainees Christina, Noelle and Jessie, but somehow she keeps putting her foot in her mouth rather than solidly on the beam before her. She tries to temper her impulsivity in the face of Christina's insecurities and Jessie's possible eating disorder. The pedestrian, first-person narration's self-comparisons to Boo Radley will probably be lost on most in this audience, who are unlikely to have read To Kill a Mockingbird. In a predictable ending, Brittany realizes the true meaning and spirit of teamwork and brings her renewed enthusiasm to the rest of the Texas Twisters. This insider's view gives an interesting perspective on gymnasts' lives, from their grueling work schedule and training methods to risk of injuries and even superstitious obsessions, but don't expect any winning medals. (Fiction. 10-12) Kirkus"
2Q 3P M Twelve-year-old Brittany Morgan and her family have just moved from Ohio to Texas so Brittany, a competitive gymnast, can train with the Texas Twisters, one of the best elite teams in the country. Britt was the only elite gymnast at her gym in Ohio, and she has always wanted teammates. The Twisters do not exactly welcome her, though, and she feels isolated and lonely in spite of her best efforts to make friends. Things only get worse when Britt begins to suspect that Jessie, the only member of the Twisters who has been friendly, may have an eating disorder. Thompson and former Olympic gymnast Moceanu kick off a new series with this volume. Although predictable, the story moves at a good pace and the characters are well developed. Britt is a realistic, if slightly immature, heroine, and readers will identify with her loneliness and attempts to make friends, as well as her wish to have a better relationship with her mother. The rigors and pitfalls of elite gymnastics training are described in great detail. Jessie's eating disorder is resolved a bit too simply, however. This book will have a niche audience and is a good purchase for libraries where sports stories are popular.-Elizabeth Norton. VOYA"
Gr 4-8 In this new series, 12-year-old Brittany and her parents move from Ohio to Austin, TX, so that she can join an elite gymnastics training program. Problems arise when she tries to fit in with her three new teammates: Jessie, the friendliest until Britt blabs her suspicions about Jessie's bulimia; Christina, the best gymnast, who dislikes the new girl and the new competition; and Noelle, a total Christina-follower. There's plenty of preteen angst to keep the plot thickening, and the authors skillfully include plenty of facts about the sport. However, the vocabulary especially in the dialogue among the girls seems way too difficult and improbable for 12-year-olds e.g., "heinous," "archnemesis," "livid," "celebratory," "conspiring." A recurring theme in which homeschooled Brittany compares herself to Boo Radley and her situation to his in To Kill a Mockingbird seems totally wrong. It appears to be a failed attempt to lend some literary value to an otherwise rather lightweight book. With a dearth of good sports fiction on this subject aimed at middle-grade girls, this one is acceptable even with its drawbacks. It will no doubt be a popular choice for the intended audience. Kate Kohlbeck, Randall School, Waukesha, WI SLJ"