PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Tag: Sport (Page 1 of 4)

Book Review: Play Like A Girl

 

Play Like A Girl

– Misty Wilson and David Wilson –

Balzer + Bray

Published 27 September 2022

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Play Like A Girl is another fantastic graphic novel memoir. My school library readers snaffle up graphic memoirs as fast as I can get them to them and I know they’ll love Play Like A Girl. I love that this memoir centres around sport and friendship. 

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Book Review: Home Field Advantage

 

Home Field Advantage

– Dahlia Adler –

Wednesday Books

Published 7 June 2022

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Home Field Advantage is a jovial sports novel with queer romance and a powerful message about coming out and standing up for what’s right, wrapped in a bright, bubbly story.

I think I start every sport novel review with a statement about how much I l sports novels, so I’ve put this a bit further down in my review just for a change. My stance remains, though. I love sports novels. I can never find enough to satisfy my own cravings or that of my readers, so this is an automatic buy for my school library. It’s a great sports novel. Romance – check. Game suspense – check. Team drama – check. Strong, determined athletes – check, check. We have two athletes who take centre field in this story. Jack, female quarterback on the boys team, hated by her team mates and determined to prove herself. And Amber, cheerleader, firmly in the closet and totally crushing on the new quarterback.

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Book Review: TJ Powar Has Something to Prove

 

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove

– Jesmeen Kaur Deo –

Viking Books for Young Readers

Published 7 June 2022

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Brilliant, just brilliant. This book has the perfect mix of super cute romance, powerful societal issues commentary, friendship, family and self identity discovery that makes it the sort of YA realistic fiction I just adore. Add a touch of sport and I was all in on this fantastic story.

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Book Review: Air

 

Air

– Monica Roe –

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Published 15 March 2022

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Air is a powerful and impressive middle grade novel about finding your voice and following your dream, while managing the transition to high school, friendship, adults who think they know best and the ways society limits the potential of all.

Air is a book I’m going to force upon a lot of people. Staff and teachers at my school, my principal, students. It’s a book I think everyone should read. The author so perfectly captures Emmie’s voice. That of a young girl who has just started seventh grade. She loves racing and jumping on ramps in her wheelchair. Chair skating. She’s an athlete and entrepreneur. She and her best friend run a small business selling plants and wheelchair bags. Emmie is saving up for a new wheelchair, one that is made for skating. But when she takes a fall at school – totally not her fault! – her new principal demands that she has a full time aide. Emmie is horrified. When the principal announces that the school plans to raise money to buy Emmie her new chair, she’s super excited, but it seems it might come at a cost and she has to decide what she wants and how to speak up for herself.

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Book Review: Game On

 

Game On: 15 Stories of Wins, Losses, and Everything in Between

– Laura Silverman (ed.) –

Viking Books for Young Readers 

Published 18 January 2022

♥♥♥/♥

 

Game on is a collection of 15 short stories that span a range of genres that all mention, in some way or form, competition.

I was expecting a sports fiction anthology. This is not a collection of sports fiction short stories. Instead, this is a collection of short stories that span a range of genres, from horror and paranormal to realistic and mystery. Actually, there are only a few stories where sport is mentioned at all and only one where it was the focus (admittedly, that was my favourite story, so maybe that tells you something about my reaction to this collection). The rest use games or competition as a backdrop to the main story of racial discrimination, revenge, disappearing people and houses, or going after the guy you love. There are mentions of some board games, but the game theme is actually pretty loose. The first story is about a game of spin the bottle at a party.

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Book Review: Icebreaker

 

Icebreaker

– A.L. Graziadei –

Henry, Holt and Co.

Published 18 January 2022

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Icebreaker is an addictive sports fiction novel, about LGBT+ identity in sports, mental health, family and romance.

I think I start every sports book review with a statement about how much I love sport fiction. And I stand by that statement. I love sports novels. Icebreaker is a mix of YA and new adult, with our main characters in their first year of college but with less sexually explicit content that what one might expect from a new adult novel.

Mickey James the Third is ice hockey royalty. Ever since he was born, it’s been ordained that he will follow in his father and grandfather’s skates. He just has to survive his first year of college before he is drafted as the top pick and then he will have fulfilled that destiny. But when his draft ranking rival is placed on the same team, Mickey knows he will have to work harder than ever to prove he is worth all the hype. And when he starts to fall for that rival, despite also arguing and fighting non stop with him, Mickey will have to chose – destiny or a chance at a future he might finally, actually care about.

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Book Review: Anything But Fine

 

Anything But Fine

– Tobias Madden –

Penguin Random House Australia

Published 31 August 2021

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Ballet is everything for Luca. It’s his future, his time, all his effort and his friendships. So when he falls down the stairs at his ballet studio and breaks his leg, it changes everything. When the doctors say he will never dance again, Luca isn’t sure what that means for his future. Who is he without ballet. When he loses his scholarship and has to move school and he shuts out his friends, the only bright side is seeing Jordan at OT. Jordan is the school captain and rowing champion at Luca’s new school. Luca thinks there might be something between them but Jordan is apparently straight. And has a girlfriend.

Anything But Fine is authentically Australia, from the Ballarat setting, to the slang and high school culture. #LoveOzYA

One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was Luca’s friendship with Amina. Amina is nerdy, talks a lot and isn’t who Luca thought he would be spending time with. She’s also as different from his old friends as possible. Amina is Indonesian-Australian and Muslim. She is absolutely fantastic and just what Luca needs. Luca also learns to be a better friend to Amina and more deserving of her. He makes some pretty lousy mistakes in this book, both towards Amina and his old friends, as well as to his dad and other adults who have been there for him. But Luca isn’t afraid to own up to these mistakes and learn from them.

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Book Review: Sidelined

 

Sidelined

– Kara Bietz –

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Published 21 September 2021

♥♥♥♥

Football, friendship, romance? What’s not to love.

Julian Jackson and Elijah Vance. Once childhood best friends. Now…. Three years after Elijah and his family left town, he has returned. Julian isn’t sure what to think. Does Elijah know it was Julian who called the police and told them Elijah broke the Coach’s window and was going to steal the money? Is Elijah the same boy he remembers? And does he remember that moment before he left? Elijah knows Julian isn’t happy to see him again – he makes that pretty clear. But is there any chance of fixing what was once between them and becoming friends again or something more?

This book is so American and so Texan it’s not funny (though it is delightful). It’s a setting that just jumps from the pages and gives the perfect backdrop to this football-loving romance.

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Book Review: Like Other Girls

Like Other Girls – Britta Lundin – Disney-Hyperion – Published 3 August 2021

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Synopsis

After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight that was absolutely totally not her fault (okay maybe a little her fault), Mara is dying to find a new sport to play to prove to her coach that she can be a team player. A lifelong football fan, Mara decides to hit the gridiron with her brother, Noah, and best friend, Quinn-and she turns out to be a natural. But joining the team sets off a chain of events in her small Oregon town-and within her family-that she never could have predicted.

Inspired by what they see as Mara’s political statement, four other girls join the team. Now Mara’s lumped in as one of the girls-one of the girls who can’t throw, can’t kick, and doesn’t know a fullback from a linebacker. Complicating matters is the fact that Valentina, Mara’s crush, is one of the new players, as is Carly, Mara’s nemesis-the girl Mara fought with when she was kicked off the basketball team. What results is a coming-of-age story that is at once tear-jerking and funny, thought-provoking and real, as Mara’s preconceived notions about gender, sports, sexuality, and friendship are turned upside down.

My thoughts

What does it mean to be a girl? For Mara, growing up in a small, traditional town, being a girl means she has strict guidelines for how a girl looks and behaves and it’s everything Mara is not and hates. Like Other Girls is a novel about accepting yourself, accepting others and learning that there is no one right way to be a girl or to stand up for that right to be a girl in your own way.

This is not a book where the girl joins the football team and is accepted by the team. Just the opposite happens in Like Other Girls. When Mara joins the football team her relationship with her brother (the team captain) which was already unsteady, deteriorates even more. She has a massive fight with her best friend Quinn who initially encouraged her to join the team but who is now one of her greatest opponents. And her mother is no longer speaking to her or attending football games. That’s not to mention all the other responses from the other guys on the team, the coach or the other teams. When four other girls join the football team, Mara is determined that she won’t be cast as similar to them. She deserves to be there while they do not. But the reaction from the team and the sheer determination from the girls starts to prove to Mara that being a girl doesn’t have just one definition.

Alongside the story of rights, sexual harassment and equality, this is also a sexual orientation discovery story. Mara knows she is gay and has a plan for how she is going to come out – when she’s in college and far away from her conservative town. She could never be like Carly who is openly out and champions for LGBT+ rights. When Mara meets Jupiter and Jupiter hires her to do some work on her farm, Mara sees someone who is comfortable in their skin and clothes and who they are, someone in an LGBT+ relationship and Mara envies every bit of that comfort.
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Book Review: The Passing Playbook

The Passing Playbook – Isaac Fitzsimons – Dial – Published 1 June 2021

♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio.

At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy’s soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans – he’s passing.

So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him after he discovers the ‘F’ on Spencer’s birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone – including the guy he’s falling for.

My thoughts

A story about sport, friendship, romance and becoming comfortable with sharing who you are. The Passing Playbook is a trans coming out story but also about belonging and accepting yourself

Spencer is starting at a new school. It’s a fresh start and one he wants to control. He decides to keep secret the fact that he is trans. When he is recruited for the boy’s soccer team, Spencer knows he walks a fine line between passing and being revealed as trans. When the league’s discriminatory policy benches Spencer he has to decide how much he trusts his team mates and how much he is willing to risk to fight the decision.

Sports stories offer such a great backdrop for relationship and character development. It seems to bring out the best and worst in people. As Spencer starts to settle into his new school and tries out for the soccer team he has to decide how much he will risk to protect his new friendships and place on the team. He loves soccer, always has, so he relishes the chance to play on the boys team – something he has always wanted to do.

While Spencer’s school is meant to be pretty liberal and progressive, he is still uncertain how, if or when he wants to come out as trans to his classmates. As he starts to get to know Justice and develops a friendship (and something) with him, he starts to learn more about the risks Justice faces if he were to ever reveal his own true identity.

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