I love Julie Cross and Letters to Nowhere so much I’ve joined two tours for it. Haha! As promised, here’s my review for LtN!
Title: Letters to Nowhere (Letters to Nowhere #1)
Author: Julie Cross
Publisher: Long Walk Press
Date of Publication: August 1, 2013)
From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest Series…Set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics…I’ve gotten used to the dead parents face. I’ve gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I’ve even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that’s made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan–being around him, talking to him, thinking about him–makes me feel like I can finally breathe again. That’s something I haven’t been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it’s like to wonder–what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you’re struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be…maybe…probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can’t happen, can it? But kissing him…well, let’s just say it’s not an easy activity to forget.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours and Julie Cross for the review copy! Still, this in no way affected my views of the novel.
I love the Tempest series by Julie Cross so when I heard that she’s self-publishing a gymnastics-themed contemporary novel, I practically begged to be a part of both tours for it. You can check out the playlist featured in the novel in my post HERE before. For those of you who don’t know, Julie coaches gymnastics. The love interest in her Tempest series, Holly, is actually a gymnastics instructor as well. So Julie really knows this topic and she also said that this is her baby project as it’s closest to her heart. And all of that showed. And because I am definitely on a roll with lists, this will be a list-type of review!
Ten Reasons Why I Love LETTERS TO NOWHERE
1. Karen. What a strong yet cute character. Karen’s a seventeen year-old elite gymnast and all her life, all she thought and did was gymnastics. Then her parents died in a car accident, leaving her lost. She doesn’t know what else to do so she continues with gymnastics. We see a very responsible and disciplined teen when she’s doing her thing then we also read about how funny and cute and clueless she can be. (Clueless about boys and social behavior that is!) Her mouth leads her to getting embarrassed about what she says at times but it’s so endearing! It was refreshing how open she is with her questions and thoughts. With all the emotional distress she’s been going through, she can still be happy and as focused as ever with her sport. Karen is a role model for teens.
2. Jordan. Oh my sweet Jordan. Seriously, YA heroes wreck me for real life guys. Jordan’s refreshingly honest but he still says the right things at the right time. And I mean, honest, really honest. He’s the son of Karen’s coach and he even did gymnastics before. And he also sidelines as a coach for gymnastics for kids as well. He even knows how to massage sore muscles! He also lost his mother and sister to an accident before. He and Karen are on the same wavelength at a lot of things. What Karen needs at this time of her life, Jordan provides. He helps her cope, helps her with gymnastics and in return, Karen does that too. Jordan’s too sweet for words and he’s too cute when he gets embarrassed. He presents a strong facade but inside, he’s grieving as well.
3. Romance. I think I delved a bit on the romance department with my first two points. But the romance is cute without veering off the fluffy side. It’s such a cute first love. ❤ (For those concerned, LtN is totally clean.) At first, Jordan acts like he couldn't care less about Karen and then they bond over a lot of things. That's the thing I like best in here. They actually got to know each other before liking each other. And do you know how they got to know each other? Point numero cuatro!
4. Close proximity! Aka possibly my favorite set-up. Karen’s coach, which is also Jordan’s father, takes in Karen after her parents died so she can still train with her team and in her gym. So there were awkward boxers-only breakfast, misplaced underwear during laundry, seeing the other one making out and all hi-jinks. Later on, they went sneaking around and attending parties and dating. SO. CUTE. You see how their relationship blossomed and it just gave me googly eyes and squeals of delight and giddiness.
5. Realistic emotions. Karen’s grieving. Jordan’s grieving. They mope. They cry. They lash out. But they also laugh. They get angry. Every emotions this novel described felt real. I felt like my heart was squeezed when they were hurt and I was also with them with the happy times.
6. Gymnastics. Sports YA!!!!!!1 ❤ Plus, you don't read lots of gymnastics-themed novels. What I appreciate with Letters to Nowhere is that even though it's a contemporary romance too, gymnastics and Karen's journey to dealing with life after her parents died were focused on as well. Everything was given enough focus and depth without floundering EVER. ❤ And even if you don't know a thing about gymnastics (like me), no need to fret or worry. It's all good because Julie guides you with her writing.
7. Other characters. Karen’s teammates. Coach Bentley. Karen’s therapist. Jordan’s friends. Every character Julie has written had depth, their own way of thinking and they did not feel like mere side characters. They gave the novel more sass, humor, more everything.
8. Plot. Sure, dealing with the death of a parent is quite common in YA. But I love how Julie made LtN different. Some books focus on grieving. Some on being angry. Some on moving on. With Letters to Nowhere, each stage had a part and just when you thought everything’s going the familiar way, Julie dishes out something which topples Karen right from square one, taking us in the process.
9. Title. The title is just perfect for this novel. Karen writes letters to her parents, to Jordan, to Coach Bentley, to everyone. Sometimes she writes it on paper. Sometimes it’s only inside her head. But still, they’re letters she’ll never send and so the title is just apt. It was amazing how Julie wrote the actual letters too so we can even dig deeper into Karen’s thoughts and feelings.
10. It’s written by Julie Cross. Enough said!
I highly recommend Letters to Nowhere for fans of gymnastics, sports-themed YA and/or YA contemporary. Both tragic and sweet, Letters to Nowhere gives us a glimpse in the life of an elite gymnast with bonuses such as a lovely and dolphin squeak-inducing slow-burn romance and a compelling emotional journey of a strong character.
About Julie Cross
Julie Cross is the International Bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, and the final installment, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press). She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere (8/13), a mature young adult romance set in the world of elite gymnastics, as well as several forthcoming young adult and new adult novels with publishers like Entangled, Sourcebooks, HarperCollins, and St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books.
Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibility’s, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict. You can find her online via twitter, her personal website, email, facebook, Goodreads, or co-moderating the YAwriters section of reddit.
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