I am going to say it right now, Don’t Hold Back, is likely to be my favourite read of the year. This story really touches you in unexpected ways.
We know how competitive sports and the sports persons are. We only see them at events like the Olympics or World Championships. This book gives us that, but also shows us how brutal training and competing is, and its toll it takes on the competitors.
Some people may find it difficult to read, as it revolves around two young competitors who both are suffering mental health issues, Garret has anger and self esteem issues, and Ryder has anorexia.
I do not know much about Gymnastics or the suffering of those with eating disorders, so I cannot say how accurate the story is.
But let me just say I really felt what these guys are going through, especially Ryder. It just feels so authentic from start to finish.
I love the Enemies/rivals to lovers, Grumpy/ Sunshine stories, so this one ticked all of the boxes for me.
The story is so well written and paced perfectly, we really get to know each character, their battles with mental health issues, the stress of training. Once they get together, the banter between them Is so real and fun, Especially Ryder’s nickname for Garret.
The book is uplifting, despite its darker topics. We go on a journey with Ryder and Garrett, as they fight two battles and build a strong relationship. They really do bring out the best in each other. The love oozes out of the words Colette has written.
So why do I believe this is likely my top read this year? Especially as we are just starting the second half of the year.
Because this story touches you when you read it, the book inspires you to fight for what you want, to dig a little deeper for the strength needed to get over the next hurdle you face. But more than that, the characters and their journey will remain in my mind for a long time.
Whether you’re a Gymnast / Sports fan or not, I highly recommend you take a look at this book.