Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura
Tor Teen, 2020, 327 pages
Trigger Warnings: school lockdown, disordered eating patterns
About the Author: Sara Fujimura is an award-winning young adult author and creative writing teacher. She is the American half of her Japanese-American family, and has written about Japanese culture and raising bicultural children for such magazines as Appleseeds, Learning Through History, East West, and Mothering, as well as travel-related articles for To Japan With Love. Her self-published young adult novels include Tanabata Wish and Breathe. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and children.
“If you got off your ass and took it back. But what if it’s too late? What if that was my one shot? What if I’m a has-been at sixteen?”
After a bad season of figure skating, sixteen-year-old prodigal child of Olympic gold medalists Olivia Kennedy is just trying to figure out what her new “normal” is. She works at the ice rink her family owns, hangs out with her best-friend-slash-mother-figure Mack, and tries to fit in at school, but Olivia doesn’t really know how to do anything other than live and breathe figure skating. When Jonah Choi, Olympic-track speed skater extraordinaire, moves to Phoenix, Jonah and Olivia’s relationship instantly sparks. Jonah and Olivia challenge each other to be the best they can possibly be, because there’s no other option in their world of competitive skating.
Every Reason We Shouldn’t touches on many serious issues in contemporary YA, such as school lockdowns, teen pregnancy, and the immense amount of pressure that teens feel to be perfect in our current age. Jonah and Olivia’s instant connection is necessary because so much of Olivia’s growth throughout the novel depends on her self-reflection generated in relation to Jonah and their friends at school. Jonah and Olivia are able to understand each other in a way most people can’t, and it creates a frustrating dissonance between the two of them and other people’s expectations for them, such as life after high school. In Every Reason We Shouldn’t, Sara Fujimura crafts a gold medal-worthy story of love, family, and friendship, while also highlighting the trials and tribulations of trying to be #1 at any cost, even if it’s a steep one.
PRR Writer, Caroline Ross
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