contemporary | romance | young adult | sports
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’sgot her hands full. But will rivalry bring her closer to Jonah, or drive them apart?
I DEVOURED THIS BOOK. I finished this Every Reason We Shouldn’t in such a short amount of time I surprised myself, I was on a horrible reading slump. It was easy to get lost in the story and Olivia’s thoughts.
I thought I would need the terminology I learned from Yuri on Ice! much more than I did. Still, the terms used for the ice skating sequences are not complicated and helped me visualize them better.
I’m going to start by saying that Olivia is not a perfect character, she is full of bitterness, jealousy, and envy. And I’m also telling you now that by the end of this book, those things are not completely gone. But it’s not what I would expect from a 15-year old whose career has crashed and burned the way hers has and has a full life ahead of her. Yet, what I liked about her was that while she is struggling with more than her dwindling ice skating career, she can find her passion and drive again. She behaved like what a 15-year-old behaves nowadays.
Through the book, she has to deal with adapting to her normal life as a teenage girl, which is difficult when her life is on the ice and that is as far as she has seen in her future while her group of friends at school are worried about their grades and college. This is also why she feels connected with Jonah because they are both skaters and their life revolves around their career and passion. She still longs to enjoy the experiences of a teenage girl, like going to prom and having a sleepover, but in the end, she has to decide what is her priority.
I don’t have much to say about Jonah’s character… Although it was fun to read him, he has the jerk “I’m better than you” vibe in the beginning, but he soon turns into a dork. He recently moved from Arlington, where he had a “more suitable” ice rink to practice speed skating. His relationship with Olivia is such a pure thing. It’s quick to develop but it’s full of fun banter and cute moments. I just LOVE those moments where they are about to kiss, they’re so soft and I’m a damn mess. His mother encourages him to have a normal life, and it’s a little overenthusiastic about it, and I loved her. His father is more concentrated on helping him train and earn a medal, but this doesn’t hinder their relationship.
The family situation for Olivia is not easy either. Her mother has always been more of a coach and now that she is not skating anymore Olivia is being completely ignored by her. Not in the “you don’t exist” way but Olivia’s mother doesn’t even realize she does it. She suffers from back pain due to an accident and between the pain medication and visits to the doctor, Olivia is almost at the end of her list. I wasn’t minding this as much and was understanding of her mother’s side. But, after a particular incident where Olivia needed comfort from her loved ones I couldn’t help but feel bad for her. With his father on a skating tour, Olivia only has her mother and her best friend with her. And even then, her mother is not always there to provide a shoulder to lean on.
Her mother also doesn’t believe Olivia has what’s needed to earn an Olympic medal. This leads to Olivia making some decisions that few parents would even let slide.
Olivia’s best friend, Mack, who is my favorite character. She was valedictorian for her class and had helicopter parents, she is now the proud mother of a cute baby. She is such a fierce and optimistic person, I loved her and her enthusiasm every time she was on the page. Mack’s strong persona may make you think that is all to her, but she is wick smart in many ways. When I saw her vulnerable side and the submissive role she had in her relation it felt eyeopening to the reality of her character.
More things happen in the book, this is just a small scoop of everything that you will get. The ending of the book is on the happy side, but with more to see in the future than what we receive. But hopefully, this is not the last we will see of these characters.
Get the Book!
About the Author
SARA FUJIMURA is an award-winning young adult author and creative writing teacher. She is theAmerican half of her Japanese-American family, and has written about Japanese culture and raisingbicultural children for such magazines as Appleseeds, Learning Through History, East West, andMothering, as well as travel-related articles for To Japan With Love. Her self-published young adultnovels include Tanabata Wish and Breathe. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and children.