Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review: The Flip Side

The Flip Side
By Shawn Johnson
Published: June 7, 2016

From gold medalist and reality TV star Shawn Johnson comes a debut YA novel inspired by her own experiences as an elite teenage gymnast—just in time for the Summer 2016 Olympic games.

Charlie Ryland has a secret.

She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending.

Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.

Inspired by her own experiences as a fifteen-year-old Olympic gymnast, gold medalist Shawn Johnson writes a delightfully entertaining novel about chasing big dreams and falling in love, all while trying to keep it real.

My review:

Charlie Ryland is an elite gymnast who aspires to make the U.S. Olympics team but at her high school where she is known as "Charlotte", no one knows she is a gymnast. She doesn't want the added pressure or the special treatment that she might receive if her classmates knew the truth. Of course if she makes the Olympic team, her secret will be out but in the meantime she wants to be treated like everyone else and have some anonymity to enjoy high school. It becomes harder to keep her secret as she meets Bobby, a talented wrestler at her school. Bobby understands the pressure of being a top athlete but she can't even talk to him about her own experiences. Charlie also lies to her best friend Zoe because she just can't bring herself to be open even though Zoe is a good friend to her.

I understood why Charlotte/Charlie didn't want her whole school to know about her but I did wish she could have been honest with Zoe. I was glad Charlie had her friendship with fellow gymnast Gwen which is the one relationship where she didn't have to lie. 

The Flip Side delves into the world of elite gymnastics and I found it fascinating to read about what they go through. When I was a little girl I loved The Little Gymnast by Sheila Haigh which introduced me to gymnastics and this book is even more interesting as it details the life of a top athlete. Shawn Johnson does a good job of bringing her life experience into the novel to make it authentic. I did wonder how likely it would be that her classmates wouldn't have suspected the truth about her before but it was still an entertaining book and I like how it focused on achieving dreams.

This book would be appropriate for young teens and maybe even tweens. With the Summer Olympics around the corner, The Flip Side would be a good book to consider adding to summer reading lists for young teens who are into gymnastics.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss


  1. I was just thinking about how great this book would be for not only gymnastics fans, but to read it before the Summer Olympics...perfect timing! My younger cousin loves gymnastics, so I will have to share this one with her. Thanks for the great review!

  2. Just got this one in the mail! I'm a huge fan of gymnastics and its one of my favorite sports to watch during the Olympics. I'm glad you liked the story and I look forward to reading how Shawn incorporates her experience as a gymnast into the story. Nice review!


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