By Ariana Carpentieri
Female athletes are a force to be reckoned with. They possess a magic unto themselves that radiates when they’re in the zone and focusing on their sport. If you yourself are a female athlete or are keen on keeping up with women’s sports, then you know just how much strength, physical endurance, practice, passion, perseverance, dedication, and team camaraderie it takes to win a game or put on a performance. To capture the essence of what it means to be a girl on the field or the floor or the pool or the mat, we’ve compiled a list of five books with fictional female athletes that won’t only win the game, but are sure to win your heart along the way.
Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura
Fifteen-year-old, biracial figure skater Olivia Kennedy’s Olympic dreams have ended. She’s bitter about it, but enjoying life as a regular teenager instead of an athlete–until Jonah Choi starts training at her family’s struggling rink. Jonah’s driven, talented, and going for the Olympics in speed skating. Between teasing Jonah, helping her best friend try out for roller derby, figuring out life as a normal teen, keeping the family business running, all while trying to figure out her place on the ice, Olivia’s got her hands full. But will rivalry bring her closer to Jonah, or drive them apart?
Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning
When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws a punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all at once. Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, where she’ll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched…every single day. Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with an irresistible deal to offer: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he’ll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. With a foolproof plan like this, what could possibly go wrong?
Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson
Though Savannah Rose―Sparrow to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. And when she’s dancing, it’s the only time she feels safe. But can dance remain her safe space in the aftermath of a brutal assault by a seemingly perfect boyfriend? In this beautiful story of loss, grief, and overcoming, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past…or lose herself forever.
Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia
When star soccer player Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend’s dark secret, she confronts him―and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton’s knee―and maybe her dream of going pro for soccer―is shattered. Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth…even if no one else believes her.
Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli
A year ago, Audrey could barely do a push up as she recovered from a spine surgery. And now? She’s made the United States’ gymnastics team. The pressure for perfection is higher than ever when horrifying news rips the team apart. Audrey is desperate to advocate for her teammate who has been hurt by the one person they trusted most―but not all the gymnasts are as supportive. Balancing the tenuous relationship between her teammates with unparalleled expectations, Audrey can’t afford to have any distractions. But with painful revelations, incredible odds, and the very real possibility of failing at every turn, will Audrey’s sheer determination be enough?