The Girls Are Good by Ilaria Bernardini
Description (from Gardners)
In the tradition of My Dark Vanessa and The Divines, a bold coming-of-age novel set in the competitive, high stakes and controversial world of elite gymnastics...Martina wants to be the best gymnast in the world. But so does everyone around her. During one week of intense competition, Martina and her teammates are tested to the limit. Any sign of weakness can quickly spell the end.
And within seven days, an intense obsession will lead to murder. Every girl will do anything to win... but at what cost? "Compelling, harrowing, and ultimately devastating - it's quite simply unforgettable." ALEX MICHAELIDES, author of THE SILENT PATIENT"A tight, frightening story of friendship, rivalry and obsession." ABIGAIL DEAN, Sunday Times bestselling author of GIRL A"Brutal and brilliant - I read it in one sitting." HARRIET TYCE, author of BLOOD ORANGE"A glimpse into a wonderfully dangerous, screwed up world. I couldn't put it down." CESCA MAJOR, author of THE OTHER GIRL
After just a few pages I could tell this book would be triggering and uncomfortable for me to read. That being said I just couldn't stop reading it. Once I looked past the disturbing elements I was able to appreciate the writing, the characters and the plot to the story. I was hooked and I needed to keep reading.
Pace wise it was quite slow burning, it didn't really pick up pace until the last few chapters. This was not necessarily a bad thing though because the writing style was captivating. There was quite a lot of repetition and flash backs that felt initially like they were interrupting the story a little too much until I realised that the author was trying to get us to feel like the characters felt. To make our minds experience a little of what the characters were. It was very clever.
Overall I enjoyed the book, it was quite different to what I've read before and opened my eyes to a totally different world.
I really hope that the majority of this story was fictional and not based on truth, that not all young gymnasts go through these terrible things or feel the way the characters in this book did. Though from the reading the acknowledgements it sounds like maybe it was based on some truth, which it terrifying.
As a bookseller this is going to be a challenging one to recommend with quite so many trigger warnings and uncomfortable elements. I'm not too sure yet how I will go about recommending it verbally but I will be stocking and and I'll be putting my review and comments from other reviewers on a display beside it to help potential readers identify if it is for them.
*TRIGGER WARNINGS - Violence, Sexual Abuse, Mental Health
Star Rating: 4 out of 5*
The Hardback of this book will be available from August 2022 and the Paperback will be available in January 2023