Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross
Set in the tough world of elite gymnastics
I won’t hesitate to admit that I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of Mrs. Cross’s Tempest. I think that’s probably why I was so hesitant to buy Letters to Nowhere – even though it sounded like the kind of story I’d love. Nonetheless, I did end up getting a copy, and it was evident there was no need for me to worry because from page one onwards I was hooked.
“Of course it’s hard,” I tell her. “If it wasn’t hard, then the success wouldn’t feel nearly as great.”
17-year-old elite gymnast Karen Campbell’s parents have just died in a car crash. When her gymnastics coach offers to take her in, Karen doesn’t argue. But there she meets her coach’s son – Jordan, who lost his mother and sister years before. As Karen begins to realize how much she and Jordan have in common, the more she begins to fall for him…and the more she begins to wonder about her parent’s death…
Being a competitive gymnast myself, I thought the gymnastics element of the story was a definite plus and was portrayed with utmost accuracy. Letters to Nowhere is centered along Karen’s journey as an elite gymnast, and I was quite interested in seeing how Mrs. Cross portrayed the sport.
There’s lots of technical gymnastics terms, skills, and slang in the book (“stick,” multiple skill names, etc), but Cross takes the time to explain each skill perfectly, so that even people without knowledge of elite gymnastics would be able to easily picture the skills in their heads as they read the story.
Gymnastics was a tough sport – mentally and physically – especially at the elite level, and I couldn’t have made it without the support of my teammates.
Regarding our main character, I loved Karen as a character – and as a person – throughout the story. She was so inspirational and brave, and she felt so realistic. But, despite this, she wasn’t perfect, and that’s what I loved about her. She made mistakes, she did bad things, but, to me, that made her all the more realistic.
Gymnastics has taught me to face fears head-on or they blow up so big you’ll never be able to conquer them.
Letters to Nowhere is a beautifully written book that I’d recommend to all fans of gymnastics, realistic fiction and / or romance. It’s definitely emotionally heart-wrenching at times, yet completely humorous at times as well. Jordan Bentley and Karen Campbell are two characters you’ll never forget.
Even though it was more Coach Cordes’s style to give giant bear hugs, I got one from Coach Bentley. And then he said, right into my ear, so no one else could hear, “This is just the beginning, Karen.”
Just the beginning. I like that.