Have you been enjoying the London Olympics this week? Check out some of these great summer sports books when you’re not watching the action and drama on TV.
Perfected by Girls by Alfred C. Martino
Life isn’t easy for Melinda Radford. Her parents have forbid her from seeing a new out-of-town boyfriend, her grandmother insists she give up a fun job at the mall for a dreary office internship, and she’s the lone girl on the Ashton High wrestling team, dealing with opponents who refuse to compete against her, a few who want to crush her, and an infuriating older brother who’s the varsity team captain and always flirting with her best friend. Just when it seems things can’t get any more complicated, an off-handed comment to a newspaper reporter puts Mel at odds with her teammates, her brother and, worst of all, her coach. But through a strange twist of tragedy and fate, Mel is given an unexpected opportunity to accomplish something no girl in her school’s history has ever done, and to redeem herself in the eyes of many.
Boy 21 by Matthew Quick
Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in broken-down Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, his dad works nights and Finley is left to take care of his disabled grandfather alone. He’s always dreamed of getting out someday, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay. Russ has just moved to Finley’s neighborhood and the life of this teen basketball phenom has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, Russ won’t pick up a basketball but answers only to the name Boy21–taken from his former jersey number. As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, a unique friendship may turn out to be the answer they both need.
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She’s not comforted by the news that she’ll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run? As she struggles to cope with crutches and a prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don’t know what to say, act like she’s not there. Which she could handle better if she weren’t keenly aware that she’d done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. Rosa is going to tutor her through all the math she’s missed and she sees right into the heart of Jessica. With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that’s not enough for her now. She doesn’t just want to cross finish lines herself-she wants to take Rosa with her.
Breathless by Jessica Warman
When Katie Kitrell is shipped off to boarding school by her distant father and overbearing mother, it doesn’t take her long to become part of the It Crowd. She’s smart, she’s cute, and she’s an Olympic-bound swimmer who has a first class ticket to any Ivy League school of her choice. But what her new friends, roommate, and boyfriend don’t know is that Katie is swimming away from her past, and from her schizophrenic older brother, Will, who won’t let her go. And when he does the unthinkable, it’s all Katie can do to keep her head above water.
Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams
Just down the road from their families, Deo and his friends play soccer in the dusty fields of Zimbabwe, cheered on by Deo’s older brother, Innocent. It is a day like any other until the soldiers arrive and Deo and Innocent are forced to run for their lives, fleeing the wreckage of their village for the distant promise of safe haven with nothing more than a leather soccer ball filled with money. Along the way, they face the prejudice and poverty that await refugees everywhere and must rely on the kindness of people they meet to make it through. But when tragedy strikes, Deo’s love of soccer is all he has left. Can he actually use that gift to compete in the Street Soccer World Cup and resurrect his life?