A Mature YA/NA set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics. Grief, love and pursuing dreams are at the forefront of this emotionally powerful love story.
Seventeen year old Karen Campbell has just lost both her parents in a tragic car accident. Grief stricken and alone, her gymnastics coach opens his home to Karen, providing her a place to live while she continues to train, working toward a spot on the world championship team.
Coach Bentley’s only child, seventeen year old Jordan is good-looking and charming enough to scare away a girl like Karen—someone who has spent ten times more hours on balance beams and uneven bars than talking or even thinking about boys. But the two teens share a special connection almost immediately. It turns out Jordan has a tragic past of his own, grief buried for years.
As Karen’s gymnastics career soars, her nightmares and visions of the horrible accident grow in strength. She can only avoid facing her grief for so long before it begins to surface and ultimately spin out of control in a very dangerous way. Can discovering love and lust (simultaneously) help with the grieving process or will it only provide a temporary distraction while waiting for reality to hit full force.
You know those books that stick with you long after you read them? Where the characters take up some of your thought and you wonder how they are doing? The ones where you can’t wait to get back to only to realize the story is over? Well, Letters To Nowhere by Julie Cross is one of those books. When the ARC of Letters To Nowhere was available for review, I was intrigued. I have been a huge fan of gymnastics and followed elite gymnastics since the 1988 Seoul Olympics. However, I was a little hesitant because the overall tone of the book sounded quite emotional. I generally like to read books to take me away from reality and the “sad” things that happen in real life, however, once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down.
Julie Cross writes a very emotional and hopeful story about Karen, an older teen who loses her parents in a car accident. She moves in with her gymnastics coach “Coach Bentley” and his son, Jordan. From there we watch her cope with her parents death and handle the extreme pressures of elite gymnastics. She finds a friend in Jordan, who has gone through a loss of his own. They turn to one another when they can’t turn to anyone else. I fell in love with Jordan and his father pretty quickly. Karen has shaken up their world in a way that forces them to face things they did not want to before. She brings them closer together.
I thought the friendship and romance aspect between Karen and Jordan was so appropriate for the story line and the two characters. There were several scenes between the two of them in which my tears fell, but then other scenes in which my heart would swell with happy emotion. It was fun watching the two of them do “regular” teen activities together as well because those were things Karen hadn’t really experienced yet.
Karen’s teammates brought a lot to the story. You get to see how each one affected Karen and helped her cope with different aspects of her life and her gymnastics. Julie develops all of the characters well and you get a sense that you know them well at the end of the story. I enjoyed Jordan’s friend Tony very much and hope we will see him in future books (Julie, I sure hope there are future books!). I can tell Tony and Karen are going to be special friends.
Letters To Nowhere is about coping with life and death and finding hope. It is also about young love and figuring out who we are as individuals when life gets messy. If you are looking for a book that feels as though it could be a true story and is both heart wrenching and heartwarming I highly recommend Letters To Nowhere.
Reviewed by: Amy R.