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Break the Fall

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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?

336 pages, Hardcover

First published February 18, 2020

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About the author

Jennifer Iacopelli

7 books521 followers
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. Follow her on twitter and instagram, @jennifercarolyn.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 402 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer Iacopelli.
Author 7 books521 followers
February 22, 2020
Thanks everyone for their incredible support in the lead up to this release and last night at my launch!

The Pre-Order/Library Request Campaign is live and will continue throughout the first week of publication, so please submit your receipts!

Also, if you've read BTF, please consider crossposting your review on a retailer site! I'd VERY MUCH appreciate it!!

Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews359 followers
August 5, 2021
What a perfect time to read this.

Break the Fall follows Olympic gymnast Audrey Lee as she faces the highs and lows of Olympic trials and injuries, falling in love, and dealing with the trauma of her coach's arrest for sexual assault. It's a story of overcoming obstacles to achieve your dreams, surviving the traumas of your past and not letting them dictate your future, and the closeness of female friendships on one of the world's most competitive stages. After watching the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gymnastics unfold for real over this past week, and watching Simone Biles struggle with her mental health, I could not think of a better time to reflect on life mirroring art.

Audrey is an extremely likeable character. Devoted and passionate, gymnastics has been her whole life. Coming back from a life changing injury, she never believed the Olympics could still be on the cards. Because of this, she soaks up every moment she has - knowing that she's on the road to retirement. Not only this, but she's a great team player. Although competitive, she wants her team mates and friends to win too and had the leadership skills and charismatic personality to pull off being a champion as well as a good friend. All of the women are well developed and their complicated relationships felt very realistic and endearing. I also liked the romance too. Leo is very much second stage to the gymnastics, and he accepts this. His support and attachment for Audrey, although quite quick in it's development, is pretty sweet and their story compliments the main storyline rather than try and dominate it.

The author clearly spent a lot of time studying gymnastics, describing the techniques and routines in vivid detail. I felt every wobble and ever fall with Audrey and her team mates and was fully invested in all the drama and tension. I could almost feel myself gasping with the crowds. I also thought the more sensitive issues of sexual assault and mental and physical abuse are dealt with well. If anything, I would have liked the author to delve deeper into the psyche of the characters a little bit more. I felt a lot of the time we merely skim the surface of how these young women are feeling and how they manage to cope with it all. I guess I just wanted that little bit more from Audrey because I found myself loving her so much.

As someone obsessed with the Olympics (one of my crowning glories was volunteering as a Gamemaker at the London 2021 Olympics) and currently living in my own little Olympic bubble, this was always going to be a winner for me. However, I genuinely found this to be a thought provoking and engaging read. One of the best YA contemporary stories I've read this year.
Profile Image for kate.
1,148 reviews925 followers
January 17, 2020

I can't count the number of times I caught myself thinking about this book randomly throughout the day, I also can't remember the last time a book made me think about it randomly throughout the day as much as this did. It was brilliantly written, powerful in its message and execution, empowering and totally and utterly addictive. I had heart palpitations numerous times throughout the girls' routines, which were vivid and expertly described.

I have truly never regretted my height and fear of falling (or hurting myself in any way, I'm a wuss, let's be honest) causing me to be a terrible gymnast as a child more than I did whilst reading this book.

With its diverse cast of characters superb discussions on sexual assault, power imbalances, race, friendship, ambition and exploration how far is 'too far' when it comes to achieving your dreams, I don't doubt this book will stick with me for a long time. Plus, this fed all my 'Make it or Break it' bookish dreams I didn't realise I had (and I never even finished the show.)

TW: Discussions of sexual assault.
Profile Image for Beth.
616 reviews24 followers
August 29, 2019
My daughter is a competitive gymnast, so I speak from experience when I say that finding books - good books - about this subject that aren't just meant for the preschool set is...impossible. Really. A good fiction book about gymnasts just doesn't exist - until now.

The gymnastics in this book are so realistic that I could picture it in my head. Which is ironic, because my daughter rolls her eyes at me regularly when I ask her to remind me what in the world she's talking about as she mentions new skills. It's edge-of-your-seat athletics (which, to be honest, gymnastics often is), and I could feel myself getting more and more tense during the rotations. Gymnastics is one of THE most underrated sports, in terms of the time and training it requires, and the absolute strength and skill the girls possess. I've actually been sitting at a college meet and heard the guy behind me tell his girlfriend that their child wouldn't do gymnastics because it wasn't really a sport. This book makes it clear that this is NOT the case - that gymnasts are strong, fierce, and have an endurance beyond what many would ever believe. Particularly to get to this level.

But here's the kicker. This isn't just a book about gymnasts competing for a gold. That in itself has enough details to sideline many authors, but it's also about so much more. Iacopelli not only writes about the current elephant in the room (sexual assault in elite gymnastics), but she wrestles said elephant into submission. It's a realistic portrait of the coulds and woulds and should-haves that go through people's minds when someone they've known for years, someone they've trusted with their health, their career, THEIR DREAMS, becomes someone they find they didn't really know. When the people they thought they knew best have secrets, and how those secrets can come tumbling down like a string of dominoes. While this could be a trigger for some, Iacopelli has handled the situation gracefully - no big flashbacks, no horrific graphic imagery. Simply a group of girls, getting ready to compete on the biggest stage in the world, trying to process the truth. I'm also VERY appreciative of the resources listed in the back of the book for RAINN, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and Flip the Switch - there for those who may stumble upon them and realize that help is available.

Speaking of the group of girls in the story - they echoed what I have seen over and over again, even at my daughter's level of gymnastics. Girls on a team, even if they aren't "friends" outside the gym, are absolutely teammates inside of it. They will cheer each other on, high five, and encourage - and hug when needed. They will cheer on girls from *other* gyms when they feel it's warranted. As the parent of a gymnast, it was excellent to see this teamwork and camaraderie brought to light in this book. Gymnasts - or even just women athletes - often seem to be considered bitchy or haughty or aloof, in part because of how hard they've had to work to get to an elite level. But for the most part, while this does exist, it is not in the majority. Again, Iacopelli was able to show the teamwork and empathy that most exhibit, and that really helped to make the characters shine.

Overall, I could not be more thrilled to have a book that my daughter might be interested in reading. One with true characters, some suspense, and even a little romance. I'm not usually a contemporary YA reader, but the gymnastics twist drew me in - and I'm so glad it did.
Profile Image for May.
Author 10 books8,604 followers
July 12, 2020
Un libro que inspira, habla del abuso sexual y que alza la voz en defensa de las mujeres jóvenes deportistas

Nosotras antes y después es una novela que tiene una historia contundente, un mensaje que lanzar al mundo y que cuenta con un abanico de personajes femeninos que cautivarán a todxs lxs lectorxs. Una obra que muestra todas las caras del ser humano cuando se encuentra bajo presión, que desidealiza el deporte olímpico y que lucha por visibilizar el peligro que corren las mujeres jóvenes cuando los hombres tienen poder sobre ellas.
Si hay algo que me gustaría destacar nada más empezar a hablar de esta novela es de cómo da luz y centra en la historia los abusos sexuales a los que se exponen mujeres jóvenes en situaciones donde no tienen poder, a pesar de que parezca que sí. Si algo es central en la trama de la novela son los abusos del entrenador de un grupo de chicas que están preparándose para las olimpiadas de gimnasia artística. Hay una gran reflexión tras cada reacción de los personajes y tras la contextualización de dichos abusos. Me ha encantado leer una novela donde se hable sin tapujos de cómo los hombres en situaciones de poder se aprovechan de mujeres jóvenes y, sobre todo, donde la resolución es el castigo y la justicia que, injustamente, no es tan común en este tipo de escenarios. Es una obra que alza la voz por las víctimas, que educa a lxs lectorxs y que nos hace reflexionar para estar atentxs ante posibles escenarios similares.
Más allá de este eje central de la trama, evidentemente la historia es un recorrido desde justo antes de que empiecen las olimpiadas en Tokio hasta que terminan. Seguimos el camino de seis brillantes deportistas que luchan por conseguir el oro y vemos lo mucho que sufren y el gran sacrificio que hacen para estar donde están finalmente. He aprendido muchísimo con Nosotras antes y después , sin duda he conocido un mundo que desconocía y del que ahora quiero saber más. Ver qué hay detrás de los Juegos Olímpicos y lo mucho que trabajan las deportistas y lo que pierden por el camino me hace admirar aun más lo que consiguen y lo que hacen. La trama está muy bien elaboradas, prácticamente no he encontrado flecos más allá de una relación romántica de la que hablaré a continuación; y me ha mantenido en vilo por todos los elementos que se interseccionan en la trama. Una historia contundente, bien elaborada y que fascinará a lxs lectorxs.
En relación a los personajes, también están bien construidos y muestran tantas caras del ser humano cuando se encuentra bajo presión que me han fascinado. Veremos a las protagonistas enfadarse, defender lo indefendible, mostrarse débiles y dolorosas y hasta luchar por lo que nunca pensaron que podrían conseguir. Si bien la reflexión que hay tras cara reacción de los personajes es fascinante y está bien construida, también lo está la caracterización de cada una de las protagonistas y sus desenlaces. Audrey Lee es la protagonista central de la novela y me ha encantado que sea una mujer racializada con cierta diversidad funcional porque tiene la espalda destrozada de entrenar. Sin embargo, me ha sobrado el personaje masculino (Leo), que intenta ser un romance añadido a la trama que pudiera aportar tensión sexual y amor en sí mismo. Sin embargo, queda totalmente fuera de lugar en la trama, no era necesario un romance para hacer esta novela lo que es y es por eso que le bajo la nota. Todas las escenas romántica (que son pocas pero intensas) sobran y ciertamente le quitan verosimilitud a la trama y la aleja de los temas centrales que realmente interesan a lxs lectorxs y por los que leen la obra.
En resumen, una novela que me ha gustado muchísimo, que lucha por visibilizar los abusos sexuales a mujeres jóvenes, que me ha hecho aprender y que sin duda recomiendo a todo el mundo.
Profile Image for Joce (squibblesreads).
230 reviews4,921 followers
April 10, 2020
See more of my thoughts in detail in my review HERE!

Break the Fall was phenomenal. It comes at such a needed time, when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed. We all need a little more gymnastics in our lives. Luckily, Audrey, or Rey's story exceeded all my expectations.

She narrates her journey towards hopefully qualifying for the USA women's gymnastics team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. One of Audrey's teammates accuses her coach of sexual assault, and there are various responses from the team and social media, which unfortunately was the reality of the situation when Aly Raisman and others accused Larry Nassar of sexual assault. The author does an amazing job of treating the situation with both gravity and respect.

There is also a hint of romance, all the complexities of female friendships, and masterful description of gymnastics technique and competition. I loved Break the Fall so much.
Profile Image for Kaelyn.
7 reviews
May 20, 2019
Once again, Jennifer has written a book about girls in sports that is about SO MUCH MORE. I was lucky enough to read an early version of Break the Fall and it will not disappoint. These girls are amazing, Leo is adorable, and the story is heartbreaking, uplifting, and inspiring.

I always hesitate to leave reviews because I don’t think I articulate what I love about them well enough, but trust me when I tell you this book is amazing. I can’t wait to order this for the teens at my library, they’re going to devour it.
Profile Image for Madalyn (Novel Ink).
495 reviews824 followers
March 27, 2020
Listened to this entire audiobook during a bad bout of insomnia, and I enjoyed every minute. YA about women’s sports is one of my favorite things, and this was so well-done! I know next to nothing about gymnastics, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of all the gym stuff, but at its heart, this is a story about friendship and the bonds between women. Definitely the thing I needed to soothe the pain of the 2020 Olympics (rightfully) being postponed.
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
301 reviews40.3k followers
January 21, 2020
Rating: 4.5 stars

A truly powerful book, but with an overarching tone of hope, empowerment, loyalty and strength.

Trigger warning: discussions about sexual assault (nothing graphic on the page)
Profile Image for Eva Piarová.
74 reviews33 followers
March 17, 2021
Yaaas! Konečne tínedžerina o športe a to rovno zasadená do diania blížiacej sa olympiády! ♥ Keď som to čítala, každú chvíľu som si na youtube hľadala gymnastické zostavy a nedokázala som sa od nich odtrhnúť - takže len preto mi korektúra trvala FAKT DLHO, lebo ináč sa to čítalo samo, furt zatajený dych a silná potreba prevracať strany. :) Nielenže je to super napísané, Zlaté dievča sa nebojí odsúdiť ani odvrátenú tvár moci v športovom svete. A ten dril gymnastiek a ich vnútorné prežívanie sú opísané tak bombovo, že budete cítiť mozole a adrenalín aj za tie baby. Top, top, top.
Profile Image for Scarlet.
256 reviews28 followers
August 21, 2019
So good! The sports aspects felt SO real and I really enjoyed all of the characters. I liked that it surprised me several times with the plot and it really kept me reading way past my bedtime because I just had to know what was going to happen.
1,016 reviews
April 27, 2019
Profile Image for Sarah Henning.
Author 14 books1,451 followers
May 1, 2019
I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of BREAK THE FALL. As a former competitive gymnast and current-and-always lover of sports fiction, this book had it all: drama, suspense, heartbreak, redemption, friendship, and jealousy, all set against the backdrop of the Olympic stage and the shock of a major scandal. I loved every second of it!
Profile Image for knizny.zavislak.
142 reviews56 followers
May 25, 2021
YA ako vyšitá!

Tento príbeh z prostredia gymnastiky a olympijských hier je skvelá pozitívna oddychovka, ale zároveň sa tu rozpráva o vážnych (a dôležitých) témach. Plus je to krásny príklad dobrej Young Adult-ky!

Tým, ktorým vadia dopodrobna popísané scény spôsobujúce traumu a iné "extrémne" situácie, by mali siahnuť po tejto knihe. Z jednoduchého dôvodu - tieto vážne problémy sa tu len diskutujú, ale stále sa tu o nich informuje. Resp. nie sú tu žiadne scény, ktoré by vám mohli spôsobiť "traumu".

Zároveň, v žiadnej dobrej YA nesmie chýbať trochu romantiky! V Zlatom dievčati sa mi páčilo ako opisujú pekný zdravý vzťah (resp jeho vývoj). Síce to nie je hlavná téma knihy, ale musím to oceniť. Je to príjemné pohladenie na duši po tých toxických vzťahoch a ľúbostných trojuholníkoch.

Táto knižka je tak nenásilne edukatívna, kde sa pri čítaní dozviete o dôležitých témach a na konci sa budete usmievať pri tom ako to celé dobre dopadlo. Plus, počas celej knihy si budete hľadať gymnastické videjká (ako ja) a budete fascinovaní ako to vôbec dokážu:D

Profile Image for Lorena.
132 reviews
October 22, 2020
No ha estado mal, pero tanta descripción repetitiva de ejercicios de gimnasia me ha saturado un poco. La novela trata muchos temas como el esfuerzo, rivalidad, compañerismo... además de otro asunto delicado que no revelo para no hacer spoiler. En definitiva, un libro juvenil correcto pero que no entra en mis favoritos de este estilo.
Profile Image for Lindsay (pawsomereads).
678 reviews375 followers
July 10, 2021
This was such a great story of perseverance and friendship! I loved all of the gymnastics components and that the majority of the plot actually focused on the sport and the Olympics like the summary promised it would. The romance felt very insta-lovey and it wasn’t my favorite plot line but the rest of the story made up for what that was lacking. It made me so excited for this year’s Olympics!
Profile Image for Lauren Hopkins.
Author 3 books182 followers
February 18, 2020
Full disclosure, I have been friends with the author for the past eight years after I sold her my Olympic Trials tickets for gymnastics in 2012. We've since traveled the country for the sport, and knowing Jen was a writer, it wasn't a surprise when she began talking about working on a gymnastics-themed book sometime around 2015.

Over the years I knew her #AngstyGymBook took many turns, but what she ultimately crafted was beyond what I could have imagined in its early days. Gymnastics aside, YA romance aside, it's an important commentary on the #MeToo movement, sexual assault, and more specifically, adults in positions of power who take advantage of the girls and young women they're supposed to protect. It sensitively but powerfully handles how survivors are often not believed, and how they're demonized by those who support the abuser as well as the media, and in the case of this book, by the survivor's very own teammates. Ultimately main character Audrey's response to learning about the abuse is heroic, and as the team begins to work together and recognize the importance of believing their teammate over protecting an abuser - even if it means potentially putting their dreams on the line - it creates a beautiful and touching show of friendship and solidarity, and why standing up for women and believing women is vital in the fight against abusive men and the organizations that cover up their crimes.

I'm proud of the important discourse Jen has added to the YA genre, and I was also happy with the quality writing about gymnastics in general, which is so rare. If you're a fan of the sport, you'll appreciate a super accurate depiction of its rules and skills, but if you can't tell a tsuk from a Yurchenko, you'll still understand what's going on because everything is explained clearly and in a way that will have you wanting to learn more.
Profile Image for Nev.
1,053 reviews136 followers
March 22, 2020
It’s kinda weird reading a book about the 2020 Olympics where there isn’t the threat of COVID-19 potentially cancelling or postponing the games. The US women’s gymnastics team has been named and they’re ready to train and take off for Tokyo to win gold medals. However, their lives get turned upside down when it’s revealed that the national team coach has been sexually abusing one of their teammates. Their personal coaches are taken away, they have to be interviewed by the FBI, and continue to train while figuring out how to best support one another.

This book is obviously influenced by the very real abuse that has gone on behind the scenes at USA Gymnastics. In a way it almost seems like wish fulfillment for having an organization that does everything the right way in the aftermath instead of continuing to fuck up, like USAG. In a perfect world this is how organizations, fans, and other teams would stand up to support survivors… but the way it was written in the book came off as a little bit cheesy and too easy. But maybe I’m just too cynical after watching things like this play out in real life over the years.

One aspect of the book that I really did enjoy was that I could tell that the author is a gymnastics fan and knew what she was talking about. Also, it was nice that the cast of characters on the team were diverse like the real current rosters from USAG. However, I thought that the writing and the pacing here left a lot to be desired. There were so many different competitions where routine after routine were written out with a lot of telling rather than showing. It became really repetitive after a while.

I’m not sure how enjoyable this book will be for people who aren’t already gymnastics fans. I definitely have a few issues with it, but I still enjoyed reading it. And even though I did think some parts were cheesy they also did tug on my heartstrings.
Profile Image for Brooklyn Tayla.
967 reviews64 followers
February 10, 2020
RTC to come on Feb 28th, my posting date for the AusYABloggers review tour showcasing Break the Fall :)
Profile Image for Miniikaty .
532 reviews117 followers
January 18, 2021

RESEÑA COMPLETA: http://letraslibrosymas.blogspot.com/...

De primeras me atraía mucho porque trataba la gimnasia y es un deporte (junto al patinaje) que siempre me ha llamado mucho la atención así que me moría de ganas por ver cómo se plasmaría en esta historia y me ha sorprendido muy gratamente ver que es parte fundamental de la misma, el eje que mueve todos los hilos y la motivación principal de los personajes y encima está bastante bien narrado para que el lector entienda todo pero sin llegar a resultar tedioso -aunque reconozco que hay partes que tiene tanto lenguaje técnico que se me hacía un pelín cuesta arriba y a la vez comprendo que sin esto no tendría ningún sentido la historia-. Entrelazado con la preparación, los entrenamientos y los juegos olímpicos la autora introduce el escándalo de una agresión sexual que pones patas arriba todo y tiene importantes consecuencias en los personajes, no os preocupéis porque no hay descripciones de nada, sino que se narra el después, como afecta y cómo la gente trata a la víctima y no tengo queja ninguna en cuanto a esto porque la autora lo ha hecho muy bien (no voy a entrar en más detalles). También es importante la amistad, los sueños, sacrificios y las esperanzas y tiene un toque romántico bastante secundario en la trama pero que le da un toque dulce.

Gimnasia artística, sororidad, amistad, amor, drama y sacrificio en una novela juvenil muy amena.
Profile Image for Diana Urban.
Author 5 books1,188 followers
April 7, 2019
I don’t usually read sports fiction, but I thought this book was amazing! I was blown away by the descriptions of the gymnastics routines and competitions; I could see them play out like a video in my mind. Sometimes I found myself tempted to look ahead and see the scores; I was so invested in these characters and what they’d accomplish. While anyone who loves gymnastics should check this out, it’s also a story about female friendships and overcoming adversity in the face of a trusted adult’s epic betrayal. This is a 2020 must-read!
Profile Image for Tiff.
572 reviews538 followers
February 25, 2020
4.5 stars.

Look, this was totally my catnip. Break the Fall is a YA gymnastics book by an author I love who does great romance, fierce girl characters, and deals with an issue that was ripped from the headlines but close to my heart. It doesn't hurt that Jenn Iacopelli is a gymnastics coach and knows everything about the sport. So yeah, probably I'm artificially inflating the score, but for reals, guys, I ripped through the bulk of this book in two days with no sleep because it just keeps the tension that tight that you HAVE TO KNOW.

Audrey Lee is a Korean-American gymnast who is an Olympic hopeful. Together with her best friend and world champ Emma Sadowsky, she's been training for years for the chance to win an Olympic medal. At first, it seems that this dream is going off without a hitch - you know, other than the fact that Audrey is injured and has severe back pain but is pushing through. But when the head of the National Gymnastics Committee, Coach Gibson, is arrested for sexual assault against a fellow gymnast, everything spirals out of control. The ladies are left without a coach, with a few weeks left before the Olympics, and a lot of baggage and girl drama weighing them down. Can they make it to the Olympics and fulfill their dreams?

Honestly, I don't want to go into too many details on the plot because this is one of those books that totally surprised me - and that's not normal. I'm the person who guesses the ending or the climax for every movie and TV show. But with Break the Fall, I was so invested that I couldn't guess what was going to happen - maybe because I was so tense for Audrey and her team the entire time. The characters are real and fully developed and have a lot of flaws...but you want to root for them all the time anyway. The core team of Audrey, Emma, Chelsea (the reigning champion beyond her prime years), and Dani (the up and comer) is so fierce that I was both delighted and dismayed for them the entire time - because what they have to deal with is so much more than they bargained for.

What this book does so well is capture the repercussions of sexual assault, of long-term abuse and of how these girls, in this unique situation, need to face up to their fears again and again in order to succeed. And the other thing that makes it real and wonderful is that even though the coach's abuse looms large in everyone's hearts and minds, it doesn't define these characters. They are still them, they are fighting through this, and they're determined not to let anything get in the way of their dreams.

Speaking of dreams, have I mentioned that there's also an awesome, super-romantic, slightly goofy boy that Audrey isn't really allowed to date? I loved how Jenn developed the relationship between Audrey and Leo. He suffered just a tiny bit from seeming a little too perfect - he was always there for Audrey and he always knew just the right thing to say - but honestly, I'm not complaining. She deserved him, and their moments together were always refreshing and so sweet. I so want an epilogue with those two.

The Final Word:

I've been chatty with Jenn for a long time on Twitter, first about her excellent tennis new adult series Game. Set. Match, and then about all things sports related, whether it's gymnastics and our love of the tv show Make It or Break It, or baseball or just random stuff. So I've been waiting for Break the Fall - her #angstygymbook a long time - and I'm so glad it delivers. If you love gymnastics, sports YA, or just want to read something gritty, real, and triumphant, this is your book. Read it before or during the Tokyo Olympics, or read it now and get obsessed.
Profile Image for Sarah.
433 reviews44 followers
March 18, 2022
Wow wow wow. Das war mal ein Buch voller Gänsehaut. Ich habe so so sehr mitgefiebert und jedes Wort der Geschichte einfach nur gefühlt. Wer Fan von Olympia ist, für den wird das Buch auf jeden Fall etwas sein. Ein richtiger Einblick, in die Gedanken der Sportler und die Abläufe von Olympia, die man sonst als Zuschauer nicht so mitbekommt. Ich liebs sehr und wünschte es gäbe so ein Buch zu jeder Sportart. Das hat einfach Spaß gemacht und war wundervoll zu Lesen.
Profile Image for Izzie.
585 reviews111 followers
March 16, 2020
(Thank you to my Mum for typing this for me).
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this eARC.
This book follows the main character Audrey, who is training for the gymnastics Olympic team, despite having a back injury which causes chronic pain. The world of gymnastics is rocked when a team mate, Dani, comes forward to accuse their manager of grooming and sexual assault. Audrey is determined to keep the team together but between changing coaches, uncertain placing at the Olympics and facing what will be her last gymnastic competition, she feels overwhelmed and lost.
What I Liked:
- The discussion of sexual assault. This book is fantastic in the fact that the narrative is about the survivors, rather than the abuser. We don't focus on the act of what he did, or his denial. It is all about the girls and how they keep living and thriving after what has happened to them. Also I think it was both accurate and authentic to have a number of character react very differently to each other because no 2 people will cope in the same way.
- Gymnastics. This book was thoroughly interesting in it's focus on gymnastics. I learnt so much about this incredible sport and it has put me in awe of what these athletes can do. I also enjoyed the setting at the Olympics, the high pressure and high risk kept me on the edge of my seat.
- Feminism. One of this books stronger themes was friendship and sisterhood. It really showcased what can be achieved when women believe each other, advocate for each other and work together as a team. This made me tear up on multiple occasion as I felt proud of the characters and everything they achieved despite the challenges they faced.
- Pain. This is one of the few books that I've come across which addresses chronic pain and the impact it has on a character. I found it to be empathetically handled and an accurate portrayal of not only the pain but all the emotions which it arouses. As a sufferer myself, I felt very seen by this book.
What I Didn't Like:
- The pacing. There were definitely some issues in that a lot of action would take place in a small number of pages and then there would be chapters that felt repetitive and unnecessary. It was just a bit too up and down for me.
- The romance. Luckily this wasn't a prominent part of the plot but the scenes containing romance irritated me. It felt far too quick and there was not any development before words like"love" were being declared.
Overall this was an emotional and impactful story exploring sexual assault and how you move forward after such trauma. As well as an inspiring look at feminism and female friendship. I would highly recommend it as a worthwhile read.
Profile Image for Maja(Athalar’s sweetheart).
146 reviews17 followers
May 11, 2022
I feel like this book had good potential. I’ll be honest, my mom bought it for me, and I thought I’d give it a shot. Reading it was far from torturous, there were just a few things that bothered me-

1. WHEN THE FUCK, WAS THE LAST WHATEVER OF HER CARRIER? I just have to say, SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. She said this bullshit so many times, and it made me roll my eyes when I read it.

2. Gibson is pretty much B plot. I found it kinda strange that the girls were able to speak about their rapist in such comedic ways. You can have whatever feelings you have, it just seemed to me that the feelings of the characters were toned down and kinda fake.

3. The entire book summed up in two sentences: There once was a gymnast girl with back problems, whose coach was a rapist. She met a boy, argued with her friend, and won the Olympics.

This to say how little happens over the course of 320+ pages.

4. Audrey was kinda annoying. She seemed to be kinda entitled, and snobby. “We’re the best in the world” and all that shit. Let me tell you, it gets boring after a while.

Anyway I was content with this book, just had some issues with it.
May 7, 2020
This book made me feel like I was watching the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and I loved it ❤️
Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,172 reviews1,307 followers
February 27, 2022
Full Review on The Candid Cover

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.

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.


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.


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.


Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli 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.
Profile Image for ashortbooklover.
500 reviews34 followers
February 17, 2020
Trigger warning: sexual assault (off-age), grooming, victim-blaming

This book captivated me completely. I buddy read it with Sasha, otherwise I would've sped through it in one sitting.

I have always been fascinated with gymnastics and these superhumans that compete within it. The sheer limits they push their body to, with artistry and flair to boot, is stunning to watch. Here, we're given a look behind the scenes, looking at the immense physical work and politics that go into this incredible sport. What I really enjoyed about the competitions was the sense of female solidarity, despite the nature of the events, there's a really strong undercurrent of support.

Iacopelli discusses trauma and the complex, differing reactions to it so well. The characters have time to process their own experiences and reframe them to see the sinister undertones that truly existed in some heartbreaking but extremely powerful scenes. In no way is this an easy read, but it's one that brings up a timely and necessary conversation.

Audrey is such a refreshing voice. She's not perfect, but she's supportive, incredibly easy to relate and ambitious. At times this ambition blinds her to events going on around her, but I got swept up with her and signs of manipulation and abuse can be so subtle that it's easy to miss the. I really wanted to hear more from her and hope that Iacopelli could possibly return to her story one day, to see what she does next.

I particularly loved how the narrative was almost completely focused on the victims and their journey. It reverses the story we've seen over and over again, almost silencing the abuser. This is not his story and it should never be, instead this is the story of those that are often manipulated into silence. The reclamation of their own narratives and voices is such a strong core message of this powerful book.
Profile Image for xlananhx.
171 reviews1 follower
May 4, 2020
This book incarnates female empowerment and strength. And I absolutely loved it. It was just like being at the olympics in real life. You could feel all the excitement and the pressure. Furthermore I really liked Audrey, a smart,determined and ambitious girl and I could partly identify myself with her. 5/5⭐️
Profile Image for Denisa Lesniaková.
Author 3 books198 followers
June 24, 2021
Nie som sklamana, lebo som od toho nic neocakavala, ale teda nebola to uzasna kniha, na ktoru budem spominat 🤷‍♀️

- snazi sa riesit vsetko, ale zaroven neriesi nic poriadne

- sme na OH, ale z nich vam poriadne autorka nic nepovie a nic nevysvetli. Cize nie je to vobec o OH. V pohode by mohli byt na sutazi v hornej dolnej.

- pre niekoho, kto nema o gymnastike ani paru to bolo ako citat knihu o fyzike. Alebo ked pozerate gymnastiku, ale nefunguje vam obraz a len pocujete ten opis. Takze nemate ani paru, co sa deje.

- trochu mi je luto, ze autorka nevysvetlila ani to, ako funguju sutaze a ja som proste nechapala. Hrdinka si stale hovori ze noo toto je moja uplne posledna zostava v tom a potom dalsich 5x este pojde. Cooo??

- overdramatic. Ja viem ze je to YA, ale ono to fakt riesi dost temnu temu a do toho su to sportovkyne na OH, takze som cakala trochu dospelosti, ale postavy sa spravali ako pubertalne deti. Teda hlavne nasa hrdinka, ktora stale utekala a dramaticky nariekala, ze co si ona pocne... Pricom JEJ SA NIC NESTALO.

- cele je to uplne nerealny happy end. Vsetko sa vyrieislo, vsetci su stastni, este aj ta temna vec co sa deje je vyriesena ako z filmu

- uplne. Useless. Romantika. Wow tak nepodstatnu romantiku som este nezazila. Nacoooo? Stretli sa raz a uz spolu chodili. 1x sa pobozkali a uz boli zalubeni. Ked ku koncu prisla scena, kde sa asi na 5 stran len rozpravali, tak som mala chut to cele preskocit, lebo to bolo uplne nepodstatne...

- cita sa to rychlo, je to take easy, aj tie temne temy su tak jednoducho spracovane, aby to nebola prilis tazka kniha

Prote ok kniha. Ak vas bavi gymmastika, tak vas urcite bude bavit aj toto. No zvysok urcite berte s rezervou. Na trhu su urcite lepsie YA, no tato vynika svojou temou, ktora nalaka nejedneho citatela. Ja osobne rychlo aj zabudnem, ze som to citala, pretoze nie som az taky fanusik gymnastiky, ale musim povedat, ze nejake YT videa som si pozrela :D Proste kniha, ktora neurazi, ale ani neohuri.
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