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Finding Our Balance

(2016 #1)

by
4.29  ·  Rating details ·  191 ratings  ·  41 reviews
When 15-year-old newcomer Amalia Blanchard makes a splash with her beam routine in front of the entire U.S. national team, veterans like Ruby Spencer—whose 2012 Olympic dreams were dashed due to an injury just a month before the Games—and Emerson Bedford—a two-time world champion set to run the show in Rio—start to take notice. With preliminary competitions to get through ...more
Kindle Edition, 299 pages
Published December 14th 2015 by Amazon Digital Services
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Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
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Lauren Hopkins
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I have read this book roughly 2 billion times over the past 18 months and obviously it is perfect. The author is clearly in need of a multi-million dollar advance from Scholastic and a high five from Bernie Sanders. No, make it a DOUBLE high five and a shot of tequila. For real yo I worked super duper hard on this LET ME GIVE MYSELF FIVE STARS FOR EFFORT.
K.
3.5 stars.

Okay, so. The gymnastics stuff in this book was super good. Lauren Hopkins clearly knows what she's talking about as far as gymnastics is concerned. As someone who watches literally no Olympics other than gymnastics (and figure skating for the Winter Olympics), I have very little understanding of the sport other than "Ooooh, that looked impressive!" and "OH MY GOD OW" and "Whaaaaaaaaaat? How can a human being even do that?!?!", so a lot of the technical terminology went right over my
...more
Jennifer Iacopelli
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, sport
I was lucky enough to read several early versions of FINDING OUR BALANCE and I can say without any hesitation that the final version will blow your socks off. With Rio 2016 fast approaching, this YA gymnastics story will enthrall every gymnastics fan and even the most casual observer who tunes in every four years. Lauren completely draws you into the high stakes world of Elite (yes, with a capital E) international gymnastics and you'll want to stick around to see whether Amalia, Ruby and Emerson ...more
MyLoveAffairWithTheWrittenWord
Lauren, I am incredibly proud of you and completely blown away! It's rare that you find a YA book so well written and intelligent, and doesn't talk down to its readers. There are so many great characters with all the character development that goes with writing a solid book. Although it's very heavy in gymnastics terminology, and anyone who is unfamiliar with such terminology might miss a few references here and there, the rest of the plot makes up for it; as a reader I was completely sucked int ...more
Aida
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Finding Our Balance, written by a gymnastics diehard for gymnastics diehards, is an enjoyable read, albeit not without its faults. Despite its length, the plot moves quickly; I read it in less than 24 hours, though not straight through. Amalia, the protagonist, is not particularly distinctive, but as a newcomer to elite gymnastics, she provides the reader with a pleasant voice through which to experience her thoroughly regimented life. While I found myself rooting for Amalia's success - and read ...more
Fran
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, 2016
First things first: this book is a gymnastics fans' dream come true. As a lover of both gymnastics (by lover I mean obsessively following the sport and even creating score spreadsheets and playing Fantasy Gym, I realize most people do not know this about me) and young adult fiction, this was always going to be a book I would read.
What sets this apart from any other YA book that deals with a heroine in a niche sport or ballet or any other very specific type of hobby situation? The author knows w
...more
Elizabeth
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gym fans and non-gym Fans alike
As far as YA novels go, Lauren nailed it! And I didn't just like it because it was all about gymnastics. You'd think Lauren has been doing this for years when reality this is her first go round. From nailing what it's like to be an elite gymnast while still making the characters relatable to perfectly nailing "teenage talk", I'm having a hard time finding something I didn't like about the story. She also did a great job making it non-gym-fan friendly, but I can't be 100% confident with that stat ...more
Mary Flynn
This was such an addicting read!

With all the elements in this book, there was plenty of opportunity for Make It or Break It-level ridiculous drama, but in the hands of a great gymnastics journalist, it never was too over-the-top. As a gymfan, I've been wanting a book like this for a long time.

The characters were all super engaging, and I really liked the mix of personalities. Their ups and downs all felt so real, and I was just hooked.

I can't imagine a gymfan not enjoying this book, but it's als
...more
Erin
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book will appeal to gymnastics nerds who really want to read about the day-to-day experiences of elite gymnasts. I like how the story is about the gymnastics, and not an unrealistic portrayal of a regular person with a regular life--oh and she's also an elite gymnast. That kind of book is automatically false.

The characters are pretty well developed, which is nice, and the book is well edited (I'm particularly impressed if it's self published, which I think it is). Great job, overall.

My on
...more
Tineke
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
I stumbled across 'Finding Our Balance' while searching for books about the Summer Olympics in Rio and decided to buy it after reading the sample chapter on Amazon. I'm happy I gave this debut novel a chance. I especially liked that this story focuses on the gymnastics first and foremost, with family, friends and love taking second place. This is as it should be for a sports novel, in my opinion, and I wish more books were like this.
I'm looking forward to reading 'When It Counts', the next book
...more
Christy Baughman
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! The characters are really well developed and they are a mixture of all of my favorite gymnasts all mashed up! I could NOT put this book down! This is a great read for both the casual gym fan and the super gym fanatic! I cannot wait for the next book to come out! The USA gymnastics team should be paying Lauren Hopkins for creating hype around their sport leading up to Rio! My advice: READ THIS BOOK!
Elisabeth
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
Thank you, Lauren, for a fiction book that deals with real, actual gymnastics. This is a book for fans who know what a shaposh is, who know what connection bonuses are. This is not for the casual fan who only watches gymnastics during the Olympics, and thank God for that. This is what we hardcore fans have been waiting for - a book about the actual goings-on in the lives of elite gymnasts in the US.

I read this in one sitting and cannot wait for the second and third books.
Caroline
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It didn't take me long to fall in love with this book. I was hooked from the first chapter, and I binge read for the rest of the day. This book is so well-written, the gymnastics is real and exciting, and the first person perspective is on point. More than that, the main character is totally relatable and believable, something you can't say for a lot of books these days. I'll be counting down the days until the next book! :)
Ele
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was literally everything I've been looking for in a book about gymnastics since forever. It's perfect for both hardcore gym fans for whom gymnastics has no secrets and for the enthusiasts with little gym knowledge. The characters are well rounded and realistic and the plot is captivating and gets you hooked from the very beginning. Bring on the next installment!
Erica Johnson
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved the 'realness' of the gymnastics of this book. The author also writes for The Gymternet, so she knows how meets, training, scores, routines work. It was a young adult level book, so she hit the mark there. Overall, I enjoyed the characters and her description of meets and routines. I would definitely recommend this.
Tyler Woodruff
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Obviously gymnastics based, and the author has extensive knowledge of the sport, but she manages to explain it so it's understandable. That said, any teen or fan of YA will easily relate to and love this book. Witty and well written, I can't wait for the sequels!!
Annie
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Easy and very enjoyable read. It was refreshing to finally read a fictional gymnastics book by someone with a ton of knowledge on the sport. I cannot wait for the next book in this series to be released (now please)! Congratulations to the author on a wonderful book!
Amy
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
An entertaining read whether you are a gym-obsessed nerd or a four year fan. I know I'm not the target audience age-wise, but I can't wait to read the next one.
Karina Girón
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Finally a gymnastics book written by a gym fan for gym fans.
Jessica
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an fantastic book! Beautifully written characters to hilarious tv references. This book is well worth a read for gymnastics fans and readers of all ages!
Andrea Huston
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
very good book in a category that doesn't get written about enough--- Gymnastics! Definitely a young adult fiction book but I enjoyed as a fan of gymnastics!
Ashley
2019 Read Harder Challenge: 19/24
Task #23: A self-published book.

This was another task that stressed me out. I just don't like doing things that I haven't extensively researched and read a million reviews on first, and that includes my reading list. But I happen to like watching gymnastics (yes, I know who Katelyn Ohashi is, yes, I saw that woman break her legs) and I read Lauren's gymnastics blog. I remembered she self-published two young adult novels about gymnastics and here we are.

I am very
...more
D.F. Pendrys
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lauren blends realistic Gymnastics knowledge with a plot that is believable.
Ester Elbert
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. As a gymn nerd I love how accurate and technical it is and that it focus more on gymnastics than real life dramas like most books. Just ordered the second one.
Alycia Muller
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I feel like this book is incomplete. Like...does she make the Olympic team? What happens with Sergei and ruby? What about emersons mom? I need answers!!
Nevergreen
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and think anyone with an interest in gymnastics would too. Or people wanting to know a bit more about what life is like trying to make it to the Olympics, the cost of training all day everyday, learning more about media and sport, etc. The firet two paragraphs of this book were weak and could have been better to pull me in, however I did get into the first person narrative quicker than most books that use this narrative choice and after the first few paragraphs I was not thro ...more
Mina
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
As a major gymnastics fan, I really appreciate how well Lauren knows gymnastics. All of the gymnastics-related things (which is most of the book) are realistic and accurate, which is nice to see in YA. The story is realistic and doesn't try and paint elite gymnasts as having twenty-five other hobbies and interests at the same time. This book is what all hardcore gym fans have always wanted and Lauren delivers on that promise - it's a fun YA contemporary but the gymnastics aspect is 10/10. Casual ...more
Justine Kelly
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I absolutely adore this book! Finally, a good novel about gymnastics. Lauren clearly knows her stuff and it comes out in this novel - she definitely appeals to gym nerds with her careful descriptions and technical detail, but, at the same time, the book is not just for gym nerds. She does a good job of explaining the intricacies of the sport for anyone who is new to it, especially regarding what it takes to be an elite.

The story itself is really enjoyable. Admittedly, I found it to be a bit fla
...more
Ilyse
I have not done gymnastics a day in my life, but I am a consummate armchair fan, so this novel was everything I hoped for, and more. Where it especially shines is in specific details, I love that Hopkins gives us a deep dive into practice--taking us alongside Amalia, Ruby, and Emmerson practicing switch leaps, a look inside the ranch er..."farm," and enough information on specific skills that we can visualize Amalia's beam routine in its entirety. Hopkins truly fulfills her goal of creating a gy ...more
Eszter
Nov 28, 2016 added it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a good, engaging read that was lots of fun. I liked most of the characters and the gymnastics felt very real. All the competitions were nicely explained and I was on the edge of my seat when Amalia was preforming. The only thing I would say is that there seemed to be to many plot lines. Really, Max was unnecessary and one of the few bad parts of the book. Overall, pretty good and I can't wait to read the next in the series!!!
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Lauren Hopkins got her start covering sports for blogs and newspapers as a college freshman. She began her own multimedia coverage website The Gymternet in 2014 and as Editor-in-Chief, she has traveled the world, aiming to bring the very best coverage, interviews, features, and opinion pieces from the people who really “get” gymnastics – other gym fans.

In 2016, Lauren worked as a writer and produc
...more

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