First Line Friday 22.3 Featuring: The Comeback by E.L. Shen

First Line Friday is a weekly linkup hosted at Reading Is My Superpower. To participate, share the first line of a book of your choice, add the link to the linkup on the host’s page, and check out what others are reading and sharing!


The First Line:

Girls who skate always think they’re the next Olympians: If I just nail that Axel and tweak that three-turn, I’ll win gold. I’ll become a star. I’ll be on TV. I’ll make America proud.


About the Book

Book Cover

Title: The Comeback

Author: E.L. Shen

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is just trying to nail that perfect landing: on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much pressure for a budding tween. Maxine isn’t concerned, however–she’s determined to glide to victory. But then a bully at school starts teasing Maxine for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and speechless. And at the rink, she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, whose grace and skill threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?


I’ve had this post planned for a while, since long before I had any idea how dramatic and – for some – heartbreaking the Olympic women’s figure skating event would be this year. When I planned to share this book the day after the free skate, it seemed fitting. Now, making a lighthearted post that is at all related to the sport feels almost wrong. It’s not my place to add my opinions to the mass already being shared online (and believe me, I have strong opinions about this), but I can’t avoid mentioning it. While everyone involved (and everyone spectating) processes and listens for what comes next, I pray they know peace, comfort, and clarity.

Now that the elephant is out of the room, a few thoughts about this book: I’m surprised The Comeback isn’t more popular with the Olympics going on. At the moment I am only a few chapters in, but it’s easy to read, Maxine is realistic and understandable, and I’m personally loving all the figure skating information that is sprinkled in. There is just enough trivia to impress any young skating enthusiast with (so far) a solid story to back it up. Hopefully the rest goes as well as the beginning!

Until the next chapter,


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