Published by Spencer Hill Press on February 7th 2017
When Savannah Gregory blows out her knee –and her shot at a gymnastics scholarship – she decides she’s done with the sport forever. Without gymnastics, she has more time for her best friend, Cassie. She’s content to let her fun, impulsive best friend plan a memorable senior year.
That is, until Cassie tries to kill herself.
Savannah wants to understand what happened, but Cassie refuses to talk about it and for the first time, Savannah has to find her own way. The only person she can turn to is Marcos, the boy who saved Cassie’s life. Being with him makes her see who she could be and what she really wants: gymnastics.
But Cassie doesn’t approve of Marcos or of Savannah going back to gymnastics, and the tighter she tries to hold onto Savannah, the farther it pulls them apart. Without Cassie to call the shots, Savannah discovers how capable she is on her own—and that maybe her best friend’s been holding her back all along.
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It’s the sound from the family room that lures me further. Recorded cheering. The reverberation of feet slamming against springboards and launching into the air.
On the carpet is a sea of my old gymnastics footage. Everything is color-coded by level: the Level 5 chronicles are in red, Level 6 and 7 are pink (I moved up a level mid-season and felt like a prodigy), Level 8 and 9 are blue, and Level 10 is green. I’d picked green because it meant go, except apparently for me, it meant get out of this sport.
My mother gestures at the TV. “I love this one. Level—”
“—Five State Championships. Yeah, that was classic.”
“Look how cute you girls were.” The camera pans to a shot of my teammates and me standing in front of the judges before we competed on bars. I’m the shortest, my knees bouncing because I was that pain in the ass who needed to be moving all of the time.
Ten-year-old Savannah sprays water onto her hand grips. Then she’s jumping up and down on the springboard until Coach Vanessa, ever the disciplinarian, yanks her down. Next she’s warming up, moving from the low bar to the high bar with feet flexed and legs splayed. Coach Matt rolls his eyes because everyone knows that she’ll only show off her proper form when the judges are watching. She releases the bar, flips once, and lands flat on her back. On camera, Mom gasps.
Now my mother smiles. “You won bars after that.”
“Why are you looking through all of this stuff?”
“Making the most of my vacation day.” She busies herself with filling up the glass cabinet under the TV.
Against my better judgment, I join her on the carpet, handing over my color-coded Greatest Hits and Misses: Level 7 Long Island Classic (three falls on beam), Level 8 New England Invitational (pulled my shoulder on bars), Level 9 State Championships (third-place floor—major hit).
Onscreen Savannah stands in front of the balance beam. For once, she’s not wiggling. She’s terrified. Good call, Baby Savannah. You were on to something. When she mounts the beam, she leaves behind sweaty footprints on the blue mat.
There’s one last green label and Mom reaches it before I can. Her eyes widen ever so slightly. I know it before she says it. “Level Ten Regionals—”
I turn away, ignoring the little voice that tells me I’m the one in trouble today, not her. “Throw it out. Burn it. I don’t care.”
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