Trying to remember the title of a YA book about gymnasts
June 21, 2009 2:38 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to recall a book that was published for twelve-year-old girls in the mid-1980s or earlier; a YA book, I suppose. It was about gymnasts who were anorexic and pushed too hard by their coach. On the cover was a painting or drawing of girls in leotards on a chessboard. It was a wonderful book and I cannot remember its title.

I am from Toronto, Canada, and the book was in the Toronto Public Library system. I remember very little else about it; it was slim, but with small type, I believe. There were no illustrations in the book. I remember it as being more sophisticated than other YA books.

If you know the title of the book or think you know it, I'd be pleased to find out. Thanks.
posted by adamfaux to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am reminded of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and in particular of Nadia Comaneci and her coach Bela Karolyi There were several articles at the time in the mainstream press about the gymnasts' rigorous training regime and their diet. Perhaps if you follow the Wikipedia links I provided, you will find a link - or a path to - the book that you are looking for.
posted by seawallrunner at 3:17 PM on June 21, 2009

maybe this book?
posted by seawallrunner at 3:24 PM on June 21, 2009

This is bringing back memories of a series I read in the mid-90s: Elizabeth Levy's The Gymnasts. Like the Baby-Sitters Club books, each book was from a different character's point of view. This was very conveniently during the early 90s right before the Barcelona Olympics, and the last book in the series was about a girl competing in those games.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:46 PM on June 21, 2009

Best answer: Maybe it was The Fortunate Few. It came out in 1982. Not much detail on the Amazon page, but I remember it involving gymnasts being sort of like professional football players. They were paid well when they produced good scores, but they were pushed past their limits and discarded once they weren't any use for the team.
posted by creepygirl at 8:34 PM on June 21, 2009

If you search Worldcat for "gymnastics--fiction" published between 1970 and 1990, only 18 results come up -- you might see if one of those rings a bell. I didn't see any that jumped out as likely candidates only because so little is provided by way of a plot summary, but "A Sense of Balance" by Nancy Meltzoff might be a possibility.
posted by Jeanne at 8:51 PM on June 21, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! I think it might be The Fortunate Few....
posted by adamfaux at 9:40 AM on June 22, 2009

Response by poster: It was indeed The Fortunate Few! Got it in the mail... same book.
posted by adamfaux at 12:36 PM on October 1, 2009

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