Winning Team

Dominique Moceanu and Alicia Thompson. Disney-Hyperion, $5.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-4231-3633-0
Olympic gold medalist Moceanu pairs up with Thompson (Psyche Major Syndrome) for this first book in the Go-for-Gold Gymnasts series. When 12-year-old Britt and her parents relocate from Ohio to Texas so that she can train at an elite gymnastics facility, she is both apprehensive about the move and excited about belonging to a team. But fitting in with her teammates isn’t easy. That Britt isn’t entirely portrayed as an innocent victim who’s snubbed as an outsider enhances the story’s authenticity. She isn’t blameless: she’s prone to hurtful gaffes, and her attempts at humor often misfire. Trying to do the right thing, she further alienates her peers when she breaks a teammate’s confidence. Britt’s repeated identification with characters from To Kill a Mockingbird (which she’s reading with her grandmother, who homeschools her) are sometimes forced. But her longing to belong and loneliness—amplified by Britt’s mother’s preoccupation with work—are moving. Gymnasts will appreciate the insider language and details drawn from Moceanu’s knowledge and experience. Simultaneously available: Balancing Act. Ages 10–14. Agent: Laura Langlie, Laura Langlie Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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