Release Date: August 1, 2013
Series: Letters to Nowhere #1
Review Source: eARC from author
Synopsis: (from book website)My Thoughts:
Her family may be shattered, but her dreams aren't...
From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest series
A Mature YA contemporary set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics. Grief, love and pursuing dreams are at the forefront of this emotionally powerful coming-of-age story.
Seventeen year old Karen Campbell has just lost both her parents in a tragic car accident. Grief stricken and alone, her gymnastics coach opens his home to Karen, providing her a place to live while she continues to train, working toward a spot on the world championship team.
Coach Bentley’s only child, seventeen year old Jordan is good-looking and charming enough to scare away a girl like Karen—someone who has spent ten times more hours on balance beams and uneven bars than talking or even thinking about boys. But the two teens share a special connection almost immediately. It turns out Jordan has a tragic past of his own, grief buried for years.
As Karen’s gymnastics career soars, her nightmares and visions of the horrible accident grow in strength. She can only avoid facing her grief for so long before it begins to surface and ultimately spin out of control in a very dangerous way. Can discovering love and lust (simultaneously) help with the grieving process or will it only provide a temporary distraction while waiting for reality to hit full force.
I loved this book because of how honest it was about grief. ‘Letters to Nowhere’ really empathized that there are different ways to grieve, and that it’s not always outwardly dramatic. The main character here, Karen, is very driven to be the best. She’s lost her parents and she feels very guilty that she might want a different path from the one her and her parents decided on before they passed away. Karen’s in a very difficult situation, and she’s also becoming aware for the first time of her true potential in gymnastics.
One of my favourite things about ‘Letters to Nowhere’ was the relationship between Jordan and Karen. These two have a very special connection, as they’re both mature beyond their years because of the things they’ve been through. Their bond right from the beginning lies with them being able to talk and actually be honest about their feelings. However these characters are realistic teens in that they’re not mature and perfectly communicative all the time. Jordan is a bit of a daredevil and does dumb teenage boy things, while Karen has been sheltered her whole life and is unschooled when it comes to boys and relationships.
I liked how this book was about Karen’s grief and trying to heal from losing her parents, but it was also about her potential as an international elite gymnast. Beyond Karen the book also focused on Jordan and his Dad working through their own issues. There were a lot of layers there, but they all worked so well together.
What’s awesome about this book is that it doesn’t offer any easy answers about grief. There isn’t a perfect concrete answer or epiphany that happens. ‘Letters to Nowhere’ features an open ending, but a perfect one. What I took away from the book is that just moving forward and trying to do your best is really all any of us can do.
‘Letters to Nowhere’ is a fantastically written book. It’s emotional, but not to the extent it will drain all your energy. It features gymnastics in a way that is technical enough to believe that Karen is a real gymnast, but also describes things well enough for people who have no clue about gymnastics (aka: me!). I absolutely loved reading this one, and I can see myself re-reading it again soon.
A little monochromatic, but I like it.
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