Absence did not make the heart grow fonder. It made the heart ache for something that might never be.”-Lucia Franco, Dismount.
In this 5 book series by Lucia Franco–Balance, Execution, Release, Twist and Dismount—Off Balance follows sixteen year old, Adrianna Rossi and her couch, Konstantin Kournakova (Kova) as they struggle to find balance between attraction and professionalism. Their relationship, while forbidden and taboo, is not predatory in any sense. I’ll go further with that after my quick break down.
In book one, Adrianna turns seventeen fairly early on and begins working in Kova’s gym, World Cup, so that she can test Elite. Adrianna’s goal is to make it to the Olympics one day, and with the help of Kova, her dream becomes closer to a reality. As the books go on, Adrianna’s gymnast career is highlighted elegantly, and we follow her through her pain and her successes. They come hand in hand. In her personal life, Adrianna struggles with family issues that bring a new and horrible pain onto her plate. On top of it all, Adrianna suffers personal issues that may hold her back in the long run.
Kova, with a traumatic past and a successful career under his belt, sees something in Adrianna that the people she loves most can’t see. Kova pushes her to her limits, and she fights him right back. As a result of their intense connection, desire blooms. Although it seems wrong, neither Kova nor Adrianna wants to stop.
Will Adrianna meet her career goals? Will she find love with Kova? Will her whole world continue to crash and burn around her until there’s nothing left?
Let’s dive right in to my thoughts.
I have stated this various times already, but Kova is not predatory. Adrianna is a young woman who had to mature at a young age and suffers from a lot of pain. Kova’s connection to Adrianna is emotional, mental, and physical. Their relationship has a deeper connection behind it than most you’ll read in the romance genre. While Kova is 32 in book one, Adrianna turns 17 in book one. By the end of book four, Adrianna is eighteen. By the end of the series, Adrianna would be twenty-one years old. This book is not a reflection of what you may have heard in the past. There is no romanticizing of any underage relationships. Read the book before you speak about it, because I can guarantee you will understand what I’m talking about.
Lucia Franco does a great job with warning labels in the beginnings of each books as well.
NOW THAT I HAVE THAT COVERED.
The characters in this book are some of the strongest characters I’ve met. Adrianna is a fighter, and she literally has everything going against her, but it never stops her. My heart beat and bled with Adrianna as her story was so elegantly written. I wanted to hug her and tell her I was proud of her. Kova’s development, while similar to many heroes in Romance, took a softer turn as the book went on. After self exploration, his intentions grew clearer.
This book gave me so much anxiety! In the best way possible, that is. Each book, all written in Adrianna’s point of view, took on new struggles and challenges. Each book had me on the edge of my seat. I haven’t slept, I’ve barely eaten, and I even teared up (I don’t cry ever, so that’s big). This book was beautifully written.
I am devastated that I will never be able to meet these characters again for the first time, but I will always hold them very close to my heart. I am literally waiting to be able to acquire the physical copies so I can put these books on my shelf, and I’m so excited to read literally everything Lucia Franco has written.
Seriously, even if it makes no sense whatsoever, I’d read it. I’m fascinated and in love with her writing style, and I can’t believe it took me so long to read this series. My heart will never be the same.
Thank you to all of those who have reached out to me while I’ve read the Off Balance series. Your kind words and understanding helped me to write this review, and I’m excited to see your thoughts as well.