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Tumbling

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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  970 ratings  ·  207 reviews
Five gymnasts. One goal.

Grace lives and breathes gymnastics—but no matter how hard she pushes herself, she can never be perfect enough.

Leigh, Grace’s best friend, has it all: a gymnastics career, a normal high-school life…and a secret that could ruin everything.

Camille wants to please her mom, wants to please her boyfriend, and most of all, wants to walk away.

Wilhelmina wa
...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Popular Answered Questions
Cressida Yes, if you know the reader well and think that they can handle constant (and I mean CONSTANT) self-doubting about one's skills.

I'm questioning more …more
Yes, if you know the reader well and think that they can handle constant (and I mean CONSTANT) self-doubting about one's skills.

I'm questioning more whether I should give this to someone who is a uber-gymnast, since the main theme is about doubting whether it is smart/reasonable to dedicate your entire life to a sport that considers you old at age 18. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
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Laura
Oct 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This one really hit the Make It Or Break It fan in me.
Kelly
This is a super fun, well-written, female-led sports book with tension and a good bit of drama. But it's realistic, competitive drama, and it's actually pretty compelling. Diverse & inclusive & realistic to gymnastics as a sport. ...more
Dahlia
Pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be <3 If you're interested in the premise, if you loved Make It or Break It...read this. ...more
Sara ➽ Ink Is My Sword
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 Olympic Dream Stars

THIS WAS SUCH A NICE SURPRISE! 🤸🏻‍♀️🤸🏻‍♀️

I don't usually read sports books, is difficult for me to enjoy a book plainly for the sport if it doesn't have a back story or plot for the characters. Thanks to the universe, Tumbling includes the personal story of multiple gymnasts, the drama, and describes the competition vividly. If you were dreaming of becoming a gymnast this book may seriously want to question the decision, because it doesn't talk about the fairy tale of be
...more
Abby Johnson
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, sports, contemporary
Aw, man, I just loved this book. It was right up my alley and it's one that I'd hand to teens who are excited about the Olympics coming up this summer or who are interested in gymnastics or who love ~drama~.

Told in alternating points of view by five gymnasts over the two-day Olympic trial meet, it's a story of chasing dreams, dreams lost, secrets, betrayal, and the pressure of being an elite athlete. There are plenty of play-by-play gymnastics moments as well as seemingly well-researched detail
...more
Becca Ritchie
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you're wishing for anything Olympic-related, this book is so endearing. It follows five gymnasts over the span of the two-day Olympic trials. Very much Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants meets Make It or Break It -- only instead of exchanging pants over a summer, it's two days of gymnasts competing against their friends for the chance at Olympic glory.



Besides the great sport politics, anxiety, betrayals, and so much more -- what I loved most was something even simpler. With the five POVs, we
...more
Jacqueline
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
I thought this would be a perfect pre-summer Olympics read. It might be for gymnastics fans between the ages of 10-14, but even as a grown-up fan of YA and children's books the writing greatly trivialized the sport. While there were some more weighty coming-of-age themes, far too much time was spent on characters arguing over boy bands, Facebook posts, and general cattiness. A true Olympic gymnast's memoir would be a better choice. ...more
Mary Flynn
I knew I shouldn't have bought this when I did. I knew I was going to be cringing at a book written by someone who clearly didn't know what she was talking about. But it was about gymnastics, so I did it. We all have our vices.

And honestly, I feel bad giving it a straight-up one star, because it wasn't just absolutely horrible, but as a gymfan, I would just feel dirty giving it anything else.

Before I go any further:
*If you have a publicist, you've already gone pro
*A DTY lands facing the vault
*No
...more
emi
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, 2016
I read this book solely as a guilty pleasure read. And though I would love to say that this book surprised me and change my life forever, it didn't. It still is a guilty pleasure read. And I loved every minute of it. ...more
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
A little disclaimer: I know nothing about the actual landscape of gymnastics. So I can't attest to the accuracy, or any such beast. Tumbling takes place during the two days of the Olympic trials. There are twelve girls vying for one of five spots on the team (there are a couple alternates too, but if you're anything like me, those don't count- and they sure didn't count to these athletes
...more
Zoe
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary


As a gymnast myself, I was ecstatic when I heard about Caela Carter's Tumbling. Unfortunately, however, I ended up feeling vastly disappointed because of all of the unnecessary teenage drama in the story.



Tumbling follows five gymnasts - Grace, Leigh, Camille, Wilhelmina and Monica - as they compete at the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials for one of the five spots on the Olympic team.

My main problem with the story was the excessive amount of teenage drama. There's hot boy bands, eating disorder
...more
Anna
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I feel like a proud mother. The writing wasn't anything amazing but the character development and detail in the plot made up for it. I have a sudden urge to fly around on uneven bars even though I'm 5'7 and can't touch my own damn toes..... ...more
Kayla
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great read for anyone who has ever put their heart and soul into something only to wonder if it was worth it in the end. This novel is told from the perspective of five gymnasts competing at the Olympic trials. It's an inside look into what's required to become an Olympian--the sacrifices you must make and what makes up the girl beneath the chalk and make-up. It touches on important themes including health and body image (on all spectrums), self-acceptance, sexuality, friendships, and familial ...more
S
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Drama addicts
★☆☆☆☆ 1.5 YOU’RE-NOT-MAKING-IT-TO-THE-OLYMPICS STARS

I mean, at the beginning the book was like:

description

But the dramas kept on piling up and it was like:

description

As a gymnastics fan, this book was, regrettably, a disappointment.

Tumbling followed the lives of 5 teenie gymnastic queens on the most significant meet of their lives: the Olympic trial. Everyone had trained hard for the past four years, sacrificing their social lives and their bodies for it. So picture something similar to Battle Royal but with teen
...more
Kara
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gosh, this was such a great book! Most sports books don't work for me because they don't seem very well researched, but this one COMPLETELY was. Warning: if teenage girl angst, drama, and animosity is not your thing, you will not like this. There is quite a bit of girl on girl hate, but this is a competition, and I feel it's realistic in this case.

There is great diversity here as well, and the book touches a lot on issues teen girls face, and not just gymnast girls.

It wasn't a perfect book for
...more
Stacie (Shy Book Nerd)
If you're a die hard gymnastics fan, like myself, then I think you would love this book. It really gives you a behind the scenes and realistic feel to the book. I enjoyed it every step of the way, the good, the bad, and the sad parts that crushed me. ...more
Nev
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
I love gymnastics… a lot. So I was really excited to read a YA book about gymnasts trying to make the Olympic team. But I was let down by this book… a lot.

I think this book was too ambitious, perhaps it could’ve been better with a smaller scope. Tumbling follows five gymnasts over the two days of Olympic Trials. Switching between the five different perspectives could get confusing at times. Some of the characters weren’t fleshed out that well and started to blend together. I think if there were
...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Grade: B+

One Word: fun

I enjoyed TUMBLING more the second time around.

TUMBLING follows 5 gymnasts at the 2-day Olympic Gymnastic Trials as they strive to fulfill their goals: Grace, the anorexic coach's daughter, Leigh, the closeted lesbian, Camille, trying to come back after a car accident stole her Olympic dreams four years ago, Wilhelmina trying to make the team by her own rules and newcomer Monica, who is just happy to have made the trials.

The multicultural characters were fairly well develop
...more
Katie
I liked this. It came pretty darn close to my ideal mixture for a "famous people" book. It was realistic without being cynical. These girls work hard, make sacrifices . . . and still love what they do. That's what I want in my celebrity books. I want to read about the good stuff, not just the bad stuff.

But I did want just a touch more idealism at the end. (view spoiler)

Also, like The Leaving, there were characters mentioned
...more
Allison
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved the way this novel was structured! I don't think I'd have liked it as much if Carter had just written a narrative about one or two girls, and hadn't broken it down by rotations at the Olympic Trials. It really helped to build tension and suspense, and to keep your loyalties rotating with each routine. All 5 girls that had POV sections were sympathetic, but I especially loved Wilhelmina's and Leigh's bits. I was going to go to bed part of the way through "Day 2", but stayed up and finished ...more
Erin Lynn
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Disclosure; Penguin Teen sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This did not affect my opinions in any way.

Wow. Full review to come.
Amber (bookstacksamber)
4.5 stars
There were 5 POVs so I kept getting confused about who was who. Other than that, I really enjoyed this one. It was a perfect read during the Summer Olympics.
Becca
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book - but probably only because I like gymnastics and having no Olympics this year was a huge blow. Having a book that is set solely during the two days of Team USA Olympic Trials sounded intense, but it actually worked rather well since it followed a number of different contenders.

Leigh won the national championships this year over her best friend Grace. She's the favourite to make the Olympic team through the one automatic spot for the top all arounder at trials. She's
...more
Lucie
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Something about girls who are passionate and devote their lives to something always gets me. This reminded me a bit of Tiny Pretty Things but a bit less dark and about gymnastics obviously.

We follow 5 girls competing at the U.S. Olympic trials, and it does feature some diversity as one of them is gay and in the closet (Leigh), one is half Asian (Grace), and another is Black (Wilhelmina). I can't speak to the Asian or lesbian representation, but for Wilhelmina something seemed off to me
...more
Zosi
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just what I needed-fast paced and intense, with pages that turn themselves and diverse characters with different backgrounds and different personalities.

I loved each of the uniquely drawn characters and how each of them got equal development-so I was able to connect with and feel for all of the characters, especially Leigh, Monica, and Wilhelmina-regardless of how many pages they got. It's quite a feat to balance so many different perspectives, problems, and personalities but Carter certainly m
...more
Samantha (WLABB)
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book really did a great job capturing the intensity of elite athletes, while also reminding us how human they are. Tumbling follows five gymnasts during the two days of the Olympic trials. There are ups and downs and lots of revelations.

Carter depicts the drama and inner conflicts, which women competing at this level experience. She shows us the sacrifices they make and the toll the sport takes on their bodies and their relationships. She shows us the glory of the win and the agony of the
...more
Lindsey
May 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

4.5 Stars

Tumbling by Caela Carter is a story about gymnastics and the struggles of competing at such a high level, both physically and mentally. As a big fan of books about sports, I knew I would love this one, and I felt like I was able to connect with each of the five narrators. I also enjoyed the writing style and the suspense that accompanies the journey to select the five gymnasts who will compete in the Olympics. This is a book that is empowering and emotiona
...more
ElphaReads
So this is going to date me pretty badly, BUT back during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, I was about to go into sixth grade and I was OBSESSED with the Magnificent Seven (aka the USA Women's Gymnastics Team). I remember seeing Kerry Strug bust up her ankle on TV while landing the winning routine on the vault. I remember being at a sleepover at a family friends' house, and their daughter and I FREAKING OUT about poor Shannon Miller not winning Gold. I remember the two Dominiques (Moceanu and Dawes), ...more
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Caela Carter grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ and Baltimore, MD. She's been writing since she learned how to pick up a pen but before the writing thing got serious she spent six years teaching English to middle and high school students in Jacksonville, FL and Chicago, IL. Her debut novel, ME, HIM, THEM AND IT was published in 2013 by Bloomsbury. When she's not writing, Caela is a teacher of some aweso ...more

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