Flip City

Spring Hermann, Author Orchard Books (NY) $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-531-05785-8
Centering a story for middle-grade girls around gymnastics is a good ideaso good, in fact, that Elizabeth Levy has written a series of books called The Gymnasts. In this story, Hermann begins with a setting ripe with dramatic possibilities and protagonists with potentially interesting problems, but falters in the telling of what could have been an absorbing tale. The book follows five months in the lives of four early-teenage girlsa striving Vietnamese, a rich WASP with family problems, a driven Italian-American and a ``girl next door'' laboring in her brothers' shadowswhose energies center around Flip City, their suburban Connecticut gym. Although the author is earnest, and seems familiar with amateur gymnastics (a glossary is included for readers who aren't), she does a lackluster job of conveying the thrill and sweat of the sport. The plot is not terribly affecting, with highs and lows ineptly orchestrated, and the characterizations sketchy and stereotypical. All in all, a missed opportunity. Ages 10-up. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
Hardcover - 246 pages - 978-0-531-08385-7
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