With six months until the Olympic Games, seventeen-year-old Harper's life is pretty much perfect. She's fighting for the starting spot on Team USA Women's Hockey, and for the first time ever, she has a crush on a guy who likes her back. She feels like the luckiest girl in the world, until she runs a risky play at practice and breaks her knee, thereby sentencing herself to six weeks in a cast and possibly ending her Olympic dream before it even starts.
For seventeen-year-old Alex, being anything less than the best is unacceptable. That's why, after a miserable debut season at the senior level, the former junior national singles champion switches to ice dance. Her skating partner, Ace, is an "all skating all the time" type of guy, which would be fine, if he'd stop keeping secrets about the real reason he and his former partner broke up. Now is not the time for second thoughts, but how can Alex skate her best if she can’t trust her partner…or herself?
As the pressure to make the Olympic team builds, the girls must rely on each other, because if there’s one thing they both know, it's that the only thing harder than skating to the top is staying there.
Author Beth Pond
Beth Pond graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Hendrix College in 2012. In 2013, she taught in South Africa for 9 months as part of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant. Pond is currently completing her coursework at the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing MFA program. Her debut novel, Podium Finish, was released from Astraea Press in November 2013. When she’s not writing, Pond enjoys martial arts (she’s a black belt) and serving as a volunteer coach for her brother’s special needs baseball team.
Praise for Podium Finish
Podium Finish is unlike any other book I have read, period. It is amazing that Ms. Pond could take two very different characters who are pursuing two completely different sports and tie them together as roommates at the Olympic Training Center. ~Crystal, Books are Sanity
This is a great, fun book! This story is really 2 stories in one - bonus! ~Shelley Walker, Goodreads
This book was truly enjoyable to read. ~Michele, Amazon Review
Podium Finish is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it. ~Ana, Amazon Reviewer
Alex is waiting for me at our usual table in the cafeteria. She rakes her fingers through her not-quite-shoulder-length blonde hair and pulls it back into a ponytail. The front strands fall loose as soon as she leans forward to eat a bite of salad. I would never be brave enough to pull off short hair like that, but Alex does it well. She pulls a bobby pin from her bag and twists her bangs back. Bobby pins. That and lip gloss are two things Alex never leaves the dorm without.
“Hey, do anything exciting today?” I ask.
“I defied gravity.”
“Wearing a push-up bra is not defying gravity.”
“I was talking about the new dance hold we’re learning, but my new bra is amazing, isn’t it?” She’s sitting with perfect posture and waves her hand in front of her chest like one of the models revealing a prize on a TV game show.
Alex dragged me to the mall last weekend, and if I never have to see her buy bras and make-up again, it will be too soon. That trip was like a quadruple dose of Alex’s usual girliness.
“It’s great. You sure you’re not too top heavy for Ace to pick up now?”
“Just because you can get away with the uniboob sports bra look doesn’t mean I have to,” Alex says, and I shoot her a look. “What? You totally pull it off.”
A shadow hovers over our table. “Excuse me, are you using that chair?” The guy gives us a tiny, apologetic smile and squeezes his tray tighter until the creases in his knuckles go white. Great, whoever he is, this guy probably just heard her say uniboob.
“No,” Alex says. “Do you want to sit with us?”
“I think he just wants—”
“Sure,” he says. “I’m Rye.”
“I’m Alex, and that’s my roommate, Harper. So what sport do you play?”
“Short track speed skating. What about you?”
I assume he’s talking to Alex—guys always talk to Alex—so I take another drink of water. Silence. I look up and meet his gaze. He was asking me.
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