Review Blog

Oct 20 2015

The flyaway girls by Julia Lawrinson

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Penguin, 2015. ISBN 9780143308652
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Gymnastics, Jealousy, Friendship. Chelsea is threatened when a new girl, Telia joins her gymnastic club. Chelsea has worked hard for a long time, doing extra training at home after her five hours at the club each week, in preparation for the Nationals. But this new girl has a natural talent that Chelsea can only dream about, and each time she tries a new skill, needs only a small amount of instruction from Louisa to get it right the next time. Ellie does not believe that she has not been trained and continues her snide remarks and comments towards the new girl. Chelsea's other friends, Rosie and Gemma, practising for the school band, form a neat contrast to the problems at the club, especially when Chelsea can see her aim of being chosen for the Nationals slipping away. But she likes Telia, and cannot abide the bickering of Ellie, so she has a dilemma to work out, who to support.
This is a wonderfully written story of middle primary girls training their hearts out for a chance at a place in the top rung of their sport. The threat of not making it is always hangs over their heads, and their regime at the club reinforces the work they must do to succeed.
The finely observed detail of working so hard at club level pervades the story and the reader settles in easily into the strengths and weaknesses shown by the girls.
Problems at home also add to the mix of this very readable story which will make all readers watch with new eyes the gymnastics at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
Fran Knight

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