The Happiest Girl in the World

Alena Dillon. Morrow, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-301904-1
Dillon (Mercy House) explores the dark side of elite gymnastics in her engrossing ripped-from-the-headlines latest. Sera Wheeler is a high-flying gymnast with sights set on the Olympic team. Together with her best friend and fellow gymnast, Lucy, and at the behest of her mother, Sera all but gives up her childhood in order to train and compete. Hours upon hours at the gym, searing pain from near-constant injuries, relentless pressure from coaches, and the looming threat of aging out of the sport define her daily life. When Lucy confides to Sera that the doctor who treats her and other gymnasts has been touching her inappropriately, Sera faces a choice: if she supports Lucy, she’ll be ousted from the gymnastics world by coaches and sport officials who demand complete obedience; but if she doesn’t, she’ll be turning her back on her best friend. Dillon’s nuanced treatment makes for a stirring and complicated picture. While the team doctor is a clear villain, the national gymnastic administration, which has a history of ignoring complaints, and Sera’s mother, whose desire to support her daughter’s dreams becomes tied up with her own insecurities, both outwardly want the best for Sera but end up breaking her. As time and competitions pass, Sera learns to see through the constant manipulation and finally comes to terms with the decision she made. Dillon’s excellent psychological drama will stay with readers. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/11/2021
Release date: 04/20/2021
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-301905-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-7999-5332-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-7999-5331-9
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