Thursday, August 15, 2013

LETTERS TO NOWHERE by Julie Cross - Review & Excerpt!

Author: Julie Cross
Title: Letters To Nowhere
Pages: 360
Publication Date: August 1st 2013
Publisher: Julie Cross
Genre: Mature Young Adult Contemporary
Her family may be shattered, but her dreams aren't...
From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest series
A Mature YA contemporary set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics. Grief, love and pursuing dreams are at the forefront of this emotionally powerful coming-of-age story.
Seventeen year old Karen Campbell has just lost both her parents in a tragic car accident. Grief stricken and alone, her gymnastics coach opens his home to Karen, providing her a place to live while she continues to train, working toward a spot on the world championship team.
Coach Bentley’s only child, seventeen year old Jordan is good-looking and charming enough to scare away a girl like Karen—someone who has spent ten times more hours on balance beams and uneven bars than talking or even thinking about boys. But the two teens share a special connection almost immediately. It turns out Jordan has a tragic past of his own, grief buried for years.
As Karen’s gymnastics career soars, her nightmares and visions of the horrible accident grow in strength. She can only avoid facing her grief for so long before it begins to surface and ultimately spin out of control in a very dangerous way. Can discovering love and lust (simultaneously) help with the grieving process or will it only provide a temporary distraction while waiting for reality to hit full force.
Karen’s world has just collapsed with her parents’ sudden death in a car crash. Left reeling and attempting to pick up the pieces, Karen moves into her gymnastic coach’s house since, other than an absentee grandmother, he’s the closest thing to family Karen has left. Everything Karen though was important—training with complete discipline, competing as an elite gymnast, getting into the college she wants—suddenly all pales into comparison of the realities a fickle world where some people live and other people die.
And then Karen meets Jordan, Coach Bennet’s son. Jordan is the complete opposite of Karen—formerly an elite gymnast himself, he’s left the sport. He’s rebellious, gets into trouble, and shockingly, he understands Karen at this vulnerable point in her life in a way that no one else does.
Living under the same roof creates some hilarious situations as the two get to know each other and spend more and more time in each other’s company. In a world that no longer makes sense, suddenly something doesJordan, and what Karen feels when she’s with him.
The characters are all so perfectly drawn. Jordan feels like such a teenage guy. Karen’s path through the cycles of grief are pitch perfect. The backdrop of the world of gymnastics is absolutely fascinating, and I just loved everything about this book.
Sweepingly romantic, raw, and completely real, Letters to Nowhere is a must read of 2013.

“So,” one of the girls said to me, “you must be a freshman, right? I thought you looked familiar.
I downed about two-thirds of my drink and placed it on a table. That would be just enough alcohol to loosen my tongue, but not enough to tip off Bentley when we got back home.
“How do you know Jordan?” the other girl asked.
“Well . . . we’re . . . uh,” I stammered.
They both nodded, looking impressed. “That’s so great you guys are together,” one girl said, holding her hand to her heart as if Jordan was a close relative or something. “I’ve been telling Jordan forever that he needed to get a girlfriend and quit messing around.”
I coughed loudly, nearly choking on the alcohol still burning my throat from thirty seconds ago.
“Right . . . well, it’s only been two dates. It’s not like we’re living together.”
“Two dates is progress for him,” the girl on my left said, rolling her eyes. “Trust me on that.”
“Thanks, guys,” I heard Jordan say. He moved right behind me, resting his hands lightly on my shoulders. “Why don’t you just tell Karen everything you know about me?”
“Whatever,” they said together.
Jordan steered me in the other direction, where Tony and a couple other guys were standing. “Sorry about that.”
“This is our second date, by the way.”
“So our first date was buying tampons? That kind
of sucks.”



I live in central Illinois with my wonderful husband and three kids currently between the ages of 7 and 12 (the kids not the husband). My writing journey began in May, 2009 with a short story in a notebook.
 Within a year, I had written seven (some good some God-awful) young adult novels. Not being a college graduate and having spent the previous fifteen years teaching gymnastics and working as a YMCA Program Director for Recreational Gymnastics, professional writing wasn't in my plans. Not even close. But ever since the day I started that short story, I haven't been able to stop. It was love at first sight.
 After about a year of writing, I had a three book deal with St. Martin's Press, and a film option with Summit Entertainment. Crazy, right? I know. It wasn't until August of 2011 that I quit working full time in order to be at home with my kids more and of course, write more. My young adult time travel debut novel, Tempest, released on January 17, 2012. The rest of my personal story remains unwritten.

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