Review: Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

Review: Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli is a book that is fast-paced and meaningful as it follows a gymnastics team’s difficult journey to the Olympics amid the arrest of their coach. I’m a sucker for books about sports, and this one provided fantastic descriptions of gymnastics as well as a team of strong female athletes. There are some difficult topics discussed, including sexual assault, but these are handled with sensitivity, and there is nothing graphic in the book. I really enjoyed this one, and I would recommend it to those looking for a more serious read.

Review: Break the Fall by Jennifer IacopelliTitle: Break the Fall
Author: Jennifer Iacopelli
Publisher: Razorbill
Genres: Contemporary
Publication Date: February 18, 2020

four-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics.

A year ago, she could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery, one that could have paralyzed her. And now? She's made the United States' gymnastics team with her best friend, Emma, just like they both dreamed about since they were kids. She's on top of the world.

The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horrifying news rips the team apart. Audrey is desperate to advocate for her teammate who has been hurt by the one person they trusted most--but not all the gymnasts are as supportive.

With the team on the verge of collapse, the one bright spot in training is Leo, her new coach's ridiculously cute son. And while Audrey probably (okay, definitely) shouldn't date him until after the games, would it really be the end of the world?

Balancing the tenuous relationship between her teammates with unparalleled expectations, Audrey doesn't need any more distractions. No matter what it takes, she's not going to let anyone bring them down. But with painful revelations, incredible odds, and the very real possibility of falling at every turn, will Audrey's determination be enough?

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Review: Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

This book follows the USA gymnastics team as they prepare for the Olympics while dealing with the news that their coach sexually assaulted a team member. The girls must persevere in order to succeed at the Olympics while the status of the team is in uncertain territory. I loved actually getting to see them compete at the Olympics, and the descriptions of the skills they execute are impressive but not overwhelming. This book is filled with tension and high stakes, and it contains an important message about believing women who come forward with their experiences.

❀ Strong Female Characters

The cast of strong female characters really complements the plot. It is easy to sympathize with each girl on the team since their coach has been arrested and there is an ongoing investigation against him which threatens to distract them from their training. However, each of them pushes through, and I admired the way they support each other. The main character, Audrey, is also fantastic. She is always there for her team and continues to work hard to achieve her dream despite chronic back pain.

❀ Important Message

There is such an important message in this book that is handled really well. While the book does deal with the topic of sexual assault, the focus is on the aftermath, and nothing is described in detail, which I really appreciated. The story is about taking a teammate seriously when she shares her story and about the importance of supporting each other during such a difficult time. It can be difficult to read about this topic, but the author did a great job being more subtle with the details of the situation while still conveying a powerful message.

❀ Intense Story of Empowerment

Break the Fall is an intense story of empowerment and strength beyond the physical level. I loved the descriptions of gymnastics and the strong female athletes the book is centred around. While the topic of sexual assault is a heavy one, the author discusses it gracefully and does not go into graphic detail. Those looking for an inspiring read about high level sports will enjoy this one.

About Jennifer Iacopelli

Jennifer Iacopelli

Jennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave, ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favorite authors were L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett, both of whom wrote about kick-butt girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-butt. As a high school librarian, she frolics all day with her students, books and computers and writes at night while cheering on her beloved Yankees.

18 thoughts on “Review: Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

  1. Sam@wlabb says:

    This was one of my CWW picks. I hope to read it at some point, because for some reason I love sports books. Iacopelli is writing another YA sports books too. I am hoping she delivers the same strong points you included in your review.

  2. Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse says:

    This is such a timely read being what went down in the world of gymnastics. It sounds like the author did a really good job with it. I think the aftermath is such an important thing to discuss. Reminds me of a little of The Way I Used to Be and the aftermath of rape in that one. I also think that cover is such a great one.

  3. Sophie says:

    This reminds me of Exit, Pursued by a Bear where the aftermath where also the focus of the story and not the acti itself. That seems a really interesting one and in tune with recent revelations about gymnastics!

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