Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Where do you send your letters when the people you're writing are dead? Review and Giveaway -Letters To Nowhere by Julie Cross

Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross
Published by Julie Cross August 1st, 2013
Available now
Received via blog tour for review
To Buy Links-
Kindle/ Nook
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.

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.

This is a smart, beautifully written, coming of age story about a young girl who has lived a sheltered life in the world of gymnastics. She's been taking her high school classes on-line, her only friends are the ones from her gym, she's never even talked to a boy. Then suddenly, she finds herself living with her coach and his teenage son. It's great for her so she can stay with her teammates and her coach, but it's weird.
As Karen learns how to live with Jordan, shuddering as he gulps from the milk jug, composing  mental letters to him to correct things he might think about her, she also has to learn to live with her coach. He is one man at the gym, her coach, and another at his place (it won't ever be home).

There are a lot of ups and downs. So many emotional hurdles not just for Karen, but there is a surprising emotional  scar that Jordan and Coach Bentley are hiding that they too have to face. Karen's hurdles come slowly, but the bandaid gets ripped off the scar with Jordan and Coach Bentley. Julie Cross handles both easily and in a believable way. She interweaves the loss and love with the story of Karen's gymnastic career and the support of her friends and Jordan and even her coach.

I fell for Karen as soon as the story started. She was numb and hardly able to follow what was happening. But she was so refreshingly honest and free of teenage drama. Don't get me wrong, there is some drama, but it's to be expected when she's dealing with the stages of grief. And Jordan, he's funny and vulnerable and honest as well which really endeared him to me. I loved the two of them together. And he does the most amazing things for Karen. 

So, when someone shot me an email and asked if I wanted to read Julie Cross' new contemporary, what would you have said? 

I don’t think Jordan even noticed me or Coach Bentley sitting at the table. He went right for the fridge, chugging milk straight from the
carton. I eyed my nearly empty glass. Gross. Coach Bentley looked over the morning paper at his son. “Damn it, Jordan! Put on a shirt.”
And pants?
Jordan glared at his dad but snatched a black hoodie from a hook by the back door and threw it on. Coach Bentley glared right back and turned to me. “Be ready in ten minutes?”
I nodded, indicating I was ready to leave anytime, then I returned to watching YouTube videos on my phone. There was a release move on the uneven bars that I wanted to learn, even though Coach Bentley probably wouldn’t let me try it. He was too obsessed with perfection to let me take a big risk. And honestly, I’d never been a risk-taker until recently. It was like an itch I couldn’t scratch. Jordan nudged the gooey eggs around in the skillet, made a face, and reached in a high-up cabinet, removing a box of sugar-filled cereal. He plunged his hand right into the box and stuffed his mouth full of fruity pebbles.
What would I have to do to disinfect this food?
Spray it all with Lysol?
At least I wouldn’t be eating that cereal, but who knew what he’d get his hands in (literally) when I wasn’t around to watch? I distracted myself from pointless germ thoughts and went back watching videos again.
“No way,” Jordan said with his mouth full.
I jumped and glanced over my shoulder at him, now standing right behind me. “What?”
 “You can’t do that.” He pointed to the video on my phone.
“I know that.” I stuffed the phone in my gym bag and got up from the chair. “I like to watch videos of crazy moves when I’m bored.”
Jordan plopped right into my abandoned spot, his disheveled hair looking slightly more attractive than you’d think it would. He had dimples that popped up when his mouth wasn’t too full, too.
“A crazy move that my dad used to do.”
Now it was my turn to lift an eyebrow. “Yeah, I heard that, too, but I couldn’t find a video of him performing it.”
Jordan tossed his feet up on the empty chair. “Because he tore his bicep doing that release right before the World Championships and never competed it.”
“That explains a lot.” Maybe this wasn’t the worst place to be living while training. It was kind of like a home court advantage.
“Ready, Karen?” Coach Bentley called from the foyer.
 “I’ll be in the shower in a few minutes,” Jordan whispered loudly. “Just in case you need to know. Don’t want you to accidentally walk in on me. We should probably post a schedule or put
an alarm on the bathroom door.”
I closed my eyes and turned around, feeling completely mortified.
“Uh huh,” I said, not looking back at him.
“Thanks for not saying anything. About
yesterday . . .”
Which part? Forgetting to give me a ride or the girl you were feeling up on the couch last night?
I let out a breath. “No problem.”
January 30
Can you please not drink out of the milk carton? I know it’s your house but seriously, it’s so gross. Also, you have really nice abs. What kind of core conditioning are you doing?
Your bathroommate, Karen

To follow the rest of the tour with interviews, character interviews, and excerpts go here

About Julie Cross

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.

Website/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Goodreads

For the Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a copy of this novel for review for free. This did not influence me in any way. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thanks to Anastasia at Living in a Book World Blog for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.


  1. Oh, wow, Heather! I would have simply overlooked this book if I saw it on the shelf because it doesn't capture me visually, but I LOVE darker, grittier books, and this sounds right up my alley! What a fantastic review, doll! Thanks for putting it on my radar :)

    1. Well, you put about five or six on my radar today so I'm only too happy to put some on your radar today!
      It's funny because this has two covers, but I picked that one because the other cover is the same as the blog tour banner. It's just out in Kindle/Nook right now. I don't know if it will be in a book format or if it will keep the same cover. It might be a series.

      I don't seem to know much, do I??? I just really enjoyed it. No cliches, no insta love, no triangles, good friendships, real emotions. And I was totally in that gym. I am so not a gymnastics person, so for me to be there was quite an accomplishment. I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to read it!

  2. I had no idea she was coming out with a contemporary YA book. It sounds really interesting but I'm wondering what happened to her parents and her family situation since she's living with the coach and his son. Well, I guess I have to read it in order to find out, huh? Great review! You definitely captured my attention and I would have totally overlooked this one.

    1. Oh, you find out the details about the parents death later in the book, but it just opens with them dead. It slowly unfolds. The gymnastics part is fascinating as I was never graceful enough to even tumble on a mat successfully. I really, really enjoyed this one. I hope you do too, Rummanah!

  3. I love emotional book and seems this def fits the bill

    1. Oh it is, but it's not over done. It's appropriate for what everyone is going through. And the romance is sweet, no insta love. A real plus there. You'd love this one Brandi!

  4. This looks like a great book, but at the same time something I would hate. I hate to cry and I know this will make me tear. Still, I do like the sound of her journey and of course the gymnastics! Yea, you convinced me... I will have to put it on my wishlist... with a box of tissues.

    1. I only got a little weepy. Karen's strength is kind of catching. And with her slow approach at her finding out the truth, it was easy to handle the emotions. Still a few tissues are in order. But I've read a lot worse. This is a much more uplifting book than a total downer. You just have to get through some gritty things first. And you will just love how undeniably honest Karen is.

  5. I have wanted to try this author, but I am not in the mood for a emotional read. I am happy to hear that it was a winner for you. I will add it to my TBR.

    1. Heidi- It was more feel good than you would guess it to be. Since the parents are dead before the book starts you don't have to go through that. Even the funeral is over with when the book starts. It's just later in the book when Karen finds out something that some emotions come out, but not what you'd expect. But I definitely wouldn't miss it.

  6. I didn't even connect this was the same author as Tempest. It took me a minute. It sounds great though! I'm more in for the lighter reads right now but as fall comes I expect I'll be ready for more emotional ones. I'll have to remember this one!

    1. It really is a great novel and really not as heavy as you think. I think it's a great Fall book because it happens at the beginning of fall into winter and spring. I think you'll enjoy it. But yeah, it's the same author.

  7. LETTERS TO NOWHERE sounds like story that's going to tug at my heart.

    1. Karen is someone that will definitely tug at your heart and the relationship between her and Jordan will make your heart melt!

  8. I just came across this book today. It was recommended based on a purchase of another book. When I added it to Goodreads, I came across your review - so positive, and knew that it was one that I would enjoy too. When it was posed as story with a girl whose parents were killed in car accident, I was a little hesitant. This is becoming too common in books lately. Parents can be absent without being dead but I do understand that this usually plays into shaping the character and her struggles. It's just common. Anyway - another book added to my never ending TBR list.


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