Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Synopsis: When Savannah Gregory blows out her knee – and her shot at a gymnastics scholarship – she decides she’s done with the sport forever. Without gymnastics, she has more time for her best friend, Cassie. She’s content to let her fun, impulsive best friend plan a memorable senior year.
That is, until Cassie tries to kill herself.
Savannah wants to understand what happened, but Cassie refuses to talk about it and for the first time, Savannah has to find her own way. The only person she can turn to is Marcos, the boy who saved Cassie’s life. Being with him makes her see who she could be and what she really wants: gymnastics.
But Cassie doesn’t approve of Marcos or of Savannah going back to gymnastics, and the tighter she tries to hold on to Savannah, the farther it pulls them apart. Without Cassie to call the shots, Savannah discovers how capable she is on her own – and that maybe her best friend’s been holding her back all along.
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19545342-lessons-in-falling
The October sunshine glints off of the Department of Motor Vehicles’ door as my father holds it open, like he’s ushering me into a debutante ball. I breeze past him to join the line of would-be drivers. The girl in front of me whimpers.
Amateur. I’ve taken this test six times. There’s no point in showing fear.
Ping, ping. My best friend’s texts roll in. I keep my head down as the line shuffles forward.
Cassie: You’re gonna kill it today!!!
Cassie: Come to South Cross ASAP when you’re done.
Cassie: When you PASS, that is.
Cassie: Bring burritos.
Right. Senior Cut Day. While I’m here, my best friend is busy frolicking by the ocean, never mind the fact that it’s cold enough for frost outside. “That’s the beauty of it,” she’d told me last night. “The teachers don’t expect us to ditch on a shit day. You’re sure you can’t get out of your test?”
“Would you want my father as your life chauffeur?”
She’d laughed. “Fair enough.”
I half expect to see a poster of my learner permit on the wall with the caption DMV’s Most Notorious. New York State still hasn’t passed a law to keep repeat offenders like me from signing up for one test right after the other, so here I stand. The first three tests, I was optimistic. On four and five, the doubt settled in. By now, it’s just embarrassing, or in the words of my father, “They’re going to start sending you Christmas cards.”
“Name?” the DMV attendant says.
“Kaitlyn Gregory,” Dad interrupts.
Nobody has called me Kaitlyn since I was seven. Not even Mom. I’d tugged that name off and taken my more exciting middle name instead. Cassie had seen to it. Get it together, Dad.
“‘K.S. Gregory,’” the man reads from my permit in an I-don’t-have-time-or-patience-for-your-discrepancy tone. “That you?”
“Yes,” we say in unison.
The man sighs. “Park across from the playground.”
There’s no doubt that Cassie’s the first senior down to the shoreline. Although it’s only eight in the morning, I bet the Atlantic Ocean is warmer than the air. My best friend won’t be swimming, although some of the braver seniors might attempt an early-season Polar Bear Plunge. No, she’ll be walking over the dunes, stopping at the peak, and digging in her heels to keep from sliding in the sand. Her camera will be slung around her neck. The fact that her attendance has been, shall we say, spotty so far this year won’t bother her.
Tomorrow, she’ll show our teachers the photographs, dropping her voice so that it falls into her purple-and-green Palestinian scarf. She’ll even win over our notoriously hard-ass precalculus teacher. As always, she will be forgiven.
Meanwhile, a permanent layer of dust covers the dashboard, the seatbelt digs into my shoulder, and the gas pedal groans like an old man whenever I press it. The car’s a piece of shit. It’s as sick of the Town of Ponquogue DMV as I am.
We’ll get out of here today, you and me.
I’m sick of failing.
About the Author
Though Diana Gallagher be but little, she is fierce. She’s also a gymnastics coach and judge, former collegiate gymnast, and writing professor. Her work has appeared in The Southampton Review, International Gymnast, The Couch Gymnast, The Gymternet, and on a candy cigarette box for SmokeLong Quarterly. She holds an MFA from Stony Brook University and is represented by Tina Wexler of ICM Partners. To learn more, visit dianagallagher.blogspot.com.