This daring coming-of-age story starts out with the main characters on their way to a gymnastics competition which could mean an Olympic career for each of them. Along the way we discover a brutal insight into the world of gymnastics through the lens of one of the main gymnasts, Martina. Through Martina, we get a first hand look at what it means to be a competitor especially when the stakes are so high. As the competition gets tougher, we see Martina describe each character as they cope with the pressure in their own ways. We start to see what has made them, broken them, and rebuilt them again and again. Very soon in, we see themes of sexual assault, eating disorders and OCD. When it seems the stakes are at their highest, a competitor from another team is found dead. The suspense of who did it towards the end gets stronger and stronger, and it becomes clear that any of these characters are capable of murder as they have all been pushed beyond their limit emotionally and physically.
Martina’s ability to incapsulate her world and experiences both in the gym and at home is absolutely gut wrenching. Admittedly, at times I wanted to put the story down because I really didn’t think there could be a happy ending for the characters. As I continued, I realized that it became more important for me to listen and to recognize that the author was trying to break a silence and a larger message was trying to be told.
Overall, I think story is an example of what it means for the hunted to become the hunter. It’s a story that brings you to the extreme and demands to be seen. Thought-provoking, and shockingly frightening. This story will have readers thinking about it for a long time after.
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