June 24, 2020

Reviews: Keep My Heart in San Francisco + Head Over Heels

pub 7/14/20 by Simon Pulse
Young Adult Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars | I feel like every young adult contemporary I've read in the last month or so has gotten three stars from me. I don't know if I'm in a rut or if these types of stories just don't appeal to me as much as they used to? Because while I did like Keep My Heart in San Francisco well enough, I mainly kept reading because it was quick and I didn't dislike it. Caroline "Chuck" Wilson has to spend her summer working at Bigmouth's Bowl, her family's bowling alley, instead of focusing on how to get herself to the fashion school of her dreams. But when she finds out they're actually in danger of losing the place, she decides she's going to save it with the help of Beckett Porter, her ex-best friend. They decide to earn some quick cash by.. bowling hustling? (Yes, really. Who knew this was a thing?) Honestly, I could've done without the money scheme because it's just a terrible idea and felt really out there. What appealed to me the most was the history between Chuck and Beckett, watching them get a second chance at friendship (and more!), and Chuck's own personal journey that ties back to her mother. If the book had focused on those elements more and a bit less on the lengths Chuck will go to in order to save the family business, I might've really enjoyed the book. 

Do I recommend? The author's writing was engaging and I definitely flew through this book but the story itself just wasn't for me. So if you're interested, I'd recommend borrowing it from the library. 


pub 6/23/20 by Atria Books
Adult - Contemporary Romance
Received e-ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | If you enjoy contemporary romances and grew up loving gymnastics (in my case watching competitions during the Olympics, not so much being a gymnast myself), then you will find Head Over Heels both delightful and moving. Because despite the fun cover, it does touch on serious, very relevant topics in the gymnastics world. Avery Abrams was set to make the Olympic gymnastics team when a single performance derailed her entire career. Seven years later, she returns home to Massachusetts where a new coach (and former gymnastics peer) Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young  Olympics hopeful. Between training and a shocking scandal that unfolds in the gymnastics world, it stirs up a lot of feelings for Avery. Nostalgia and memories of her old friend Jasmine but also the darker ones, like her emotionally abusive coach. The author did a thorough job of showing every side of gymnastics – the joys of nailing choreography and seeing high scores, the mental and physical toll training can take, the scandals, and going after your dreams 100% at such a young age. It was a behind-the-scenes look that made me respect the sport even more than I already do. And on the lighter side of things, there's the romance. Obviously sparks fly between Avery and Ryan and I was mostly here for it. (The boy makes some poor choices but I guess that's to be expected!) 

Do I recommend? I do! This was my first Hannah Orenstein book and I'm looking forward to seeing more from her in this genre. 

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