Sunday, 26 June 2016

Apple Paperback Review: Bad Break (The Gymnasts #6) by Elizabeth Levy

On select Sundays I will be reviewing some of the old Apple Paperback titles from my childhood. These titles were published, or republished by Scholastic during the 1980s & 1990s and were written and set in the United States. In Australia, these books were typically only available from libraries or could be ordered through catalogues that were distributed through primary schools. Most of these titles are now long out of print or have been updated and republished for later generations ...

Following on from my recent analysis of The Gymnasts series a couple of weeks ago, I found a cheap copy of one of the better books from the series at the Salvation Army Op Shop (this is an actual, local church-run shop, not to be confused with the larger and more commercial Salvos Stores,) for fifty cents and decided to bring it home. The book is a bit old and tatty and once belonged to the Inaburra High School Library, but it proved itself to be a fun nostalgia trip.

Book six focuses on Cindi, and how she breaks her leg after going on a ski trip to Aspen with her parents and three of the other Pinecones, Lauren, Darlene and Jodi, and mean girl Becky, who infiltrates the group, as her family is also holidaying at Aspen that weekend. (Ti An and Ashley were always, of course, minor characters and Heidi has not joined the group yet.) The book gives a surprising amount of technical detail on what happens when someone breaks a leg on a ski slop (Cindi is taken to the bottom of the mountain in a special sled that is a little like a stretcher,) but the focus of the novel is the implication that the injury has on her. It's a pretty accurate analysis of what it is like to have an injury, as Cindi experiences moments of frustration and doubt, anger and the odd bit of selfishness, along with a bit of denial. She stays on at Evergreen Academy doing weights and exercising her good leg on a bike, and learns a whole new level of respect for coach Patrick when he asks her to spot her teammates--who are sometimes resentful of her instructions and do not always co-operate. Later, after the cast comes off, Cindi has to overcome her fears to do gymnastics again and prove to herself that she is not going to be forever 'broken.'

Although medicine and technology has changed a bit (plaster casts and crutches are a bit of a rarity for broken legs nowadays,) this is still an interesting read about the implications of being injured--an injury is never fun and the problems that arise from it are not always physical.

A solid instalment in the series.

About the author: Elizabeth Levy started off her career working for Senator Robert Kennedy before turning her hand to writing. A prolific author of books for children, she has published more than eighty titles and has even continued on the Amber Brown series in tribute to the original author (and her friend) the late Paula Danziger.