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5 Sporty YA Books That Will Leave You Cheering

If you’re anything like me, you spent your childhood inhaling a whole slew of sports movies. Little Big League (that’s the one where the kid owns the Twins). Rookie of the Year (that’s the one where the kid’s arm makes an awesome ratchet noise when he pitches). The Little Giants (that’s the football one). There’s nothing like a great sports story. The tension. The stakes. The underdog taking down the big Kahuna.

I haven’t outgrown my love of sports stories, and there’s no better time to dive into one than right now, when the weather is starting to turn warm. Here are five of my favorite young adult sports books.

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The Game Can’t Love You Back by Karole Cozzo

I love reading about kick-butt young ladies who know exactly what they want, so I immediately fell in love with Eve, the protagonist of this novel. She knows she’s an incredible pitcher, so when she’s paired up against cocky (and annoyingly charming) Jamie, she’s ready to prove how great she is. This book has an amazing (and super sexy) pull-up scene you will not want to miss.

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Valley Girls by Sarah Nicole Lemon

I was lucky enough to steal an ARC of this book from a friend (fact—I begged for it). It’s set at Yosemite National Park, where the main character, Rilla, is shipped off to live with her sister for the summer. Rilla wants to waste her summer sleeping and pouting, but soon gets involved with a group of young women who are rock climbers. I can’t even make it to the top of a rock climbing wall, but this book made me want to try.

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Surviving Adam Meade by Shannon Klare

Love Friday Night Lights? This is the book for you. You don’t have to know a lot about football to love this novel (but you’ll probably love it even more if you spend your Sundays camped out in front of the TV). This book is set in the South, where I’m told people take high school football very seriously, and stars a high school quarterback and the coach’s daughter as their hatred turns into smooching.

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Spinning by Tillie Walden

If you’re looking for great sports nonfiction, don’t miss Tillie Walden’s graphic memoir about figure skating. This book is poignant, honest, and funny, and Tillie brings her love (and hatred) for figure skating to the page with gorgeous pictures. She also weaves in what it was like to come out as queer in this world. I loved reading about a sport I only knew from the Olympics.

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How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner

Not every sports story is about the character currently being an athlete. In this book, our protagonist, Kate, has decided to quit swimming and has to come to terms with the way that her dad—who was her coach—made her life difficult. Swimming was a huge part of Kate’s life, and seeing how she puts herself back together when this is gone is fascinating.

What are your favorite sports stories on screen and in books? Let us know in the comments below!

Author spotlight

Kat Brzozowski

Native New Hampshirite. Broadway musical nerd. Work team softball slugger. Embroidery aficionado. I’m one part Ramona, one part the monkeys …

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