Gold medals, second chances, friendship, and love... Every Reason We Shouldn't by Sara Fujimura (Review & #Giveaway) @The_FFBC

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Every Reason We Shouldn't
(Every Reason We Shouldn't #1)
By Sara Fujimura
YA Contemporary, Sports
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 332 Pages
March 3rd 2020 by Tor Teen


Warning: Contains family expectations, delightful banter, great romantic tension, skating (all kinds!), Korean pastries, and all the feels.

Fifteen-year-old, biracial figure skater Olivia Kennedy’s Olympic dreams have ended. She's bitter, but enjoying life as a regular teenager instead of an athlete... until Jonah Choi starts training at her family's struggling rink. Jonah's driven, talented, going for the Olympics in speed skating, completely annoying… and totally gorgeous. Between teasing Jonah, helping her best friend try out for roller derby, figuring out life as a normal teen and keeping the family business running, Olivia's got her hands full. But will rivalry bring her closer to Jonah, or drive them apart?

Every Reason We Shouldn't by Sara Fujimura is a charming multicultural romance perfect for the many fans of Jenny Han and Rainbow Rowell.

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My Review

EVERY REASON WE SHOULDN'T is a story about a girl who crashed and burned in her last ice skating couples' competition and is figuring out what her life should look like. It's about a talented speed skater who begins training at her rink and the possibility of romance. It's about friendship and family, but mostly about second chances and finding the nerve to save something important. Recommended to contemporary YA fans, especially those who enjoy stories about athletes.

Olivia was a great character from the start! She was easy to connect with and cheer on as she tried to figure out who she was and if she was really washed up or if she had more in her. She also brought all the feels as she dealt with a tough family situation, competing for herself, and finding first love. Jonah was adorable and inspiring. He had talent and a good work ethic while also trying to figure out what "normal" looked like. Mack was this crazy mix of young mother, responsible employee, surrogate mom, and wild woman with her roller derby aspirations. It was a bit of a mess, honestly, as Olivia and Jonah got to know each other. At one point I actually didn't like Jonah for Olivia and was even upset at Mack... but it all worked out. Then there was the fun and crazy group of school friends and both Olivia's and Jonah's families with all their own issues and drama, that added to the story.

There was a lot of romance in this story (some of it swoon-worthy), but what I really liked was that it was about so much more than that. It was about Olivia finding her inner strength to push through pain, to give it her all, and to believe in herself when no one else would. It was also about an ice skating rink that was its own home for the family it brought together of owners, employees, serious skaters, and those who skated for fun. It was also about dreams and sometimes letting go.

There were a couple of things that didn't work for me or needed a bit more development. I wasn't quite sure about a couple 15-year-olds hanging out with some college-aged friends. Some parts didn't always feel realistic and felt over dramatized. I think some things would have worked better for me if some of the characters would have been older and maybe if some of them weren't always competing against each other.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I enjoyed reading this story. It was entertaining with some serious feels in places, and characters who I could cheer on. I'm curious to see where book two will lead.

Content: Some swearing (including the s-word), some innuendo and heavy making out.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through the Fantastic Flying Book Club, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

SARA FUJIMURA is an award-winning young adult author and creative writing teacher. She is the American half of her Japanese-American family, and has written about Japanese culture and raising bicultural children for such magazines as Appleseeds, Learning Through History, East West, and Mothering, as well as travel-related articles for To Japan With Love. Her self-published young adult novels include Tanabata Wish and Breathe. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and children.

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What do you think? Will you be reading this one if you haven't already? Do you like stories with athletes?

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