With the thousands of Young Adult books printed each year, it's easy to miss ones you may love, especially if you're a reader of a niche category. If you'd rather read about scoring points than scoring with vampires, it can be tricky to spot sports books in bookstores and libraries unless you do extensive research before arriving.
Lucky for you, I happen to have done just that! Here are five winning picks for YA sportsfans.
Boy21 by Matthew Quick: If you are a reader who initially browses by book cover, you definitely would be thrown off the sports trail with the sci-fi style of BOY21. Finley is the only white kid on his school's varsity basketball team, and spends hours each week practicing his skills. When a new boy moves into the neighborhood, Finley's coach asks him to guide him along.
Turns out the new boy has been through a family tragedy and only wants to be called Boy21 (21 being his old basketball jersey number). Even though Boy21 may take his coveted basketball position (and jersey number), Finley helps Boy21 while learning about friendship and what everything means to him.
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kennally: Perhaps a cover which is a bit more obvious, CATCHING JORDAN focuses on the sport of football, but with a unique twist: Jordan is a girl quarterback for her high school football team--and the best quarterback in Tennessee at that. Her dream is to play for Alabama, but this dream is threatened by a boy who moves to their school her senior year and vies for her quarterback spot.
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt: Sports books don't always have to be about the "big" sports of football, basketball, and baseball, and SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD is a perfect example. Payton's father has recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and her guidance counselor has suggested she find something to focus on besides her family.
While sitting in class, Payton decides Sean Griswold's head is as good as any since he sits directly in front of her, and before she knows it they are having actual conversations. The sports part of this book comes into play with Sean - he is an avid biker, and starts to teach Payton some things about bikes and riding.
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler: In BITTERSWEET, Hudson is a former figure skater who gave up the sport on the spot when her parents divorced three years ago. When she receives notification of an upcoming figure skating competition that would allow her to quit her diner job, Hudson starts practicing while trying to balance the rest of her life... and the co-captain of the hockey team who is on the ice one day while she's practicing.
Through a mixture of her cupcake making hobby and figuring out what she wants in life, Hudson uses her love for figure skating to confront her family and decide what to do about the hockey boys who have appeared in her life.
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach: Perhaps the most hilarious of those listed here, STUPID FAST is actually the name Felton Reinstein goes by at school. During his sophomore year he grew big and tall... and very fast. This prompted pressure from the coaches and players for Felton to try out for the football team.
Besides the woes of hitting a major growth spurt and not fitting into any of his clothes, Felton and his brother have to deal with some pretty heavy stuff at home, giving STUPID FAST a well-rounded plot.