If you have a tween or teen gymnast in your house, I have a chapter book series to recommend! The Go-for-Gol
Winning Team: Twelve-year-old Brittany Lee Morgan is the best. Or, at least she was at her gymnastics training gym in Ohio. But when her family moves to Texas for a world-class facility, Britt is suddenly a zero in the eyes of her new teammates. The other girls—graceful Christina, perfect Noelle, and quiet Jessie—aren’t exactly excited by the arrival of the pint-sized powerhouse. Especially since Britt has a way of saying the wrong thing at all the wrong times. But, Britt's not scared of a challenge: she’s an Elite Gymnast, and she didn’t get there without taking some major risks. She's determined to become friends with the other Texas Twisters, whether they want her to or not. [$5.99 – Order directly from Amazon, also available for Kindle]
Balancing Act: Twelve-year-old Noelle Onesti has gymnastics in her blood. Not only does she have natural ability, talent and drive, but back in Romania, her mother was also an Elite gymnast. So if there's one girl destined to come home with a gold medal at the Junior National Championships, it's Noelle.
But Noelle’s a worrier, and she knows it won’t be easy for her family to put up the money to send her to the competition. She tries to focus on her training, but when a boy asks her to the school dance, her mind is a whirlwind of dresses, crushes, and family responsibilities. Noelle knows that if she wants to achieve her Olympic dreams, she can’t let anything get in the way. Her teammates—graceful Christina, quiet Jessie, and lively Britt—can’t wait for the trip to Junior Nationals in Philadelphia, and Noelle doesn’t want to let them down. [$5.99 – Order directly from Amazon, also available for Kindle]
Reaching High: Long-limbed, red-haired Jessie might be the quiet girl on the Texas Twisters, but she's a force to be reckoned with where it counts—on the vault and in her heart. With freshman year on the horizon, Jesse decides that it’s time to stop hiding in the shadow of her teammates and do the last thing anyone expects: join the cheerleading squad. Jessie proves that her gymnastic skills make her a perfect fit for the team, and becoming friends with the team captain makes Jessie feel like people care about her, and not just her talent.
I gave the first two books, Winning Team and Balancing Act to my daughter – a 10 year old swimmer and her best friend – an 11 year old gymnast who is on the fast-track herself, and they both loved the books. The day I gave them the books was a day I drive carpool and instead of their goofy, silly selves telling jokes, making up stories and giggling the ride was silent. They were each deep into the books! The next day when I picked them up from school each girl had the book in hand but all of a sudden the conversation was all about the character's in the book – they were comparing what was happening in each book, talking about the girls in the book as if they knew them and saying how they couldn't wait to switch books. The girls are really looking forward to the last two books in the series, too.
I highly recommend the series for anyone who loves gymnastics, but I don't think being a gymnast is a requirement for enjoying the series as they are still basically stories about friendship, fitting in, overcoming obstacles and going for your dreams!
Disclosure: I received the first two books for review but all opinions are my own.