Retton's gymnastic triumph in the 1984 Olympics attracted audiences and led to later commercial success. She won with the demanding guidance of Karolyi, coach of Nadia Comaneci in 1976 and 1980. They alternate in their stories, aided by Powers, author of One Goal . While George Sullivan's Mary Lou (Messner, 1985) and other YA books have appeared already, Retton's own account will appeal to aspiring gymnasts and other young readers. Karolyi's vivid telling of his rise and fall in Romania's sports establishment and his perilous defection to the United States will attract older readers. Buy for both. Morey Berger, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Freehold, N.J.
School Library Journal
YA Retton's life story is presented, in her own words, to the author. Since she was only 16 when the book was written, she does not have a whole lot to tell. Equal space is devoted to her trainer, Romanian-born Bela Karolyi, whose life is more interesting. He tells of his struggles with the Romanian government in trying to start a gymnastics program, his defection to this country and his success in overcoming obstacles in America to get his gymnastic program started here. Once Mary Lou and Bela get together, her story really picks up. She talks about her hopes and dreams, her feelings about Bela's hard training and about going to the Olympics. She comes across as a determined and purposeful young woman who sets goals and then goes all out to accomplish them. There are 12 pages of black-and-white photographs; some are of Mary Lou as a small child but most are of her in action at the Olympics. Powers has done a successful job of letting Mary Lou's and Bela's personalities come through in their speech patterns. Readers will feel as though they are talking directly to them, rather than through an intermediary. Pat Royal, Prince George's County Public School System, Md.