Thursday, June 18, 2020

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein - ATRIA BOOKS

Print Length: 333 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1982121475
Publisher: Atria Books (June 23, 2020)
Publication Date: June 23, 2020

From the author of the Love at First Like and Playing with Matches, an electrifying rom-com set in the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics, full of Hannah Orenstein’s signature “charm, whimsy, and giddy romantic tension” (BuzzFeed).The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jasmine Guillory, Head Over Heels proves that no one “writes about modern relationships with more humor or insight than Hannah Orenstein” (Dana Schwartz, author of Choose Your Own Disaster).

“Hannah Orenstein’s Head Over Heels offers a perfect escape to an alternate 2020, one full of Olympic aspirations and encouraging pep talks.”

"A rom-com set in the competitive gymnastics world . . . . Twisty storylines about love and relationships follow."
Head over Heels is a high-flying romantic comedy unafraid to examine the hardships of competitive gymnastics. Timely and realistic… Head Over Heels will delight anyone heartbroken over the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, fans of "Stick It" and "The Bronze," and loyal readers of Lianne Moriarty, Barbara Davis, and Sophie Kinsella.”
"Strikes a powerful chord."
The Washington Post


Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein was a novel I truly enjoyed. This book definitely was a lot different than her previous works, and I have seen such a difference in her writing - while this one took on more serious themes of emotional abuse and #metoo movement. This was a very important topic that I did see in the headlines about the gymnastics world, and the ongoing emotional and physical abuse from the people they most trusted and relied on. I felt that Orenstein wrote about this with such grace and compassion for the characters, and the amazing writing really hooked me in. This read more as a women's contemporary fiction rather than a romcom.

I loved the protagonist. Avery was a competitive gymnast and an Olympic hopeful who lost the chance from an injury.  She starts school at UCLA and meets her boyfriend, a famous football player with whom after four years had a very devastating breaks up with her. With nowhere to go, Avery returns to her hometown and back to her parents' home. While there, she was offered a chance to coach an Olympic hopeful and rekindles a second chance romance meeting Ryan again, who was also in the gymnastics circuit when Avery was competing. 

I think that when Orenstein was writing this, the issues of COVID and the cancellation of the summer Olympics in Tokyo was not even a consideration, so you may have to just accept that in this fictional world in this novel. It sure made me miss the Summer Olympics very much.

I have to mention in this novel and give kudos to how Orenstein in this novel captured the gymnastics world - the writing was very well researched and captured the details of the technical aspects of the elite gymnastics competition. For me personally, I enjoyed it immensely and I certainly appreciated the research that went to writing this book. 

I thought the romance was great. It focused on Avery and Ryan's relationship and their career as coaches to an up and coming Olympic gymnast. The characters were very relatable especially for those wanting second chances not just in love but in life as well. 

I enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it as a women's contemporary fiction read that tackled important themes and subject matter. A great read I really enjoyed that captivated me into the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics. 


Hannah Orenstein is the author of Playing with Matches and Love at First Like, as well as the senior dating editor at Elite Daily. Previously, she was a writer and editor at She lives in New York.

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