Welcome to SPORTY GIRL BOOKS. At SPORTY GIRL, we want to give all girls the chance to love, watch, play, read, and write about any sport that interests them. We look forward to the day when the words, "You play like a girl," is the biggest compliment anyone can receive.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Does Fantasy Have a Place in Sporty Girl Books?

You can ultimately decide, but for me the answer is a no-brainer: Heck Yeah. I'm a HUGE fantasy reader, but I always go for the books with the strong female lead. The ones where the girls can seriously kick butt (or at least learn to) instead of hiding in the kitchen or behind their menfolk. These characters speak to me, like DJ does in Dairy Queen. They remind me that I can be strong, that my daughters and girls everywhere are warriors in their own right.

Below are some of my favorite, kick-butt, sporty girl fantasies:

1. Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword (and other Damar books)
This is the story of Corlath, golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfolk, son of the sons of the Lady Aerin.

And this is the story of Harry Crewe, the Outlander orphan girl who became Harimad-sol, King’s Rider, and bearer of the Blue Sword, Gonturan, the sword Lady Aerin carried, the sword only a woman may wield, for it will turn in the hands of a man.

And this is a story of the kelar of the Hillfolk, the magic in the blood, and how it may wake even in Outlander veins.

2. Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Fire. Both powerful girls, both with a lot to discover about themselves. 
In the Seven Kingdoms, people born with an extreme skill, "Grace", are feared and exploited. Katsa herself despises hers, killing. Her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, commands her to punish and torture his enemies. Prince Po, with combat skills, becomes her friend, and she learns terrible truths about her Grace and a secret hidden far away that could destroy the realm.
With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

2. Veronica Roth's Divergent (Series)
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

4. Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games (Series) 
Katniss, 16, takes her sister's place in the televised annual Hunger Games, competing against Peeta, the boy who gave them bread to survive after their father died. The cruel Capitol forces each of 12 districts to submit a boy and girl 12-18, to fight to the death. Only one can survive and be rewarded. President Snow manipulates behind the scenes.

5. Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

6. Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn (Series)
A thousand years ago evil came to the land. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk labor as slaves in volcanic ash fields. A troublemaker arrives. A rumored revolt depends on an untrustworthy criminal and a young girl who must master Allomancy, metal magic.

7. Richelle Mead's  Vampire Academy (Series)
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

8. Cinda Willams Chima-(all series, but esp. her Seven Realms books)
9. Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments (Series)
10. Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study
11. Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days
12. Bridget Zinn's Poison

What do you think? Do these books (or fantasy books in general) count as Sporty Book Reads? What's your favorite fantasy with a kick-butt heroine? I'm sure there're some great ones out there I've missed.


  1. Hey Robin, I hadn't really thought about these books as Sporty Girl books before but I totally see it now. One of the interesting things about archery, swordplay and riding is that they are so old world and yet they make the leap into future worlds just a well. I love pictures from the Victorian age of society women with their bows and arrows. Some how it is both lady like and kick-ass at the same time.

  2. So many great books. And yes, I'd consider them sporty reads. Nice list.

  3. Um, yes. (Duh!) I mean, fantasy is all about adventure and kicking trash! You'd have to be crazy to cut them out. ;) And now I have to go update my TBR list.

  4. Those are some great choices.

    I also like kick-butt girls in stories, which is why the only female lead in my series at least kicks a little ass at the start. But she'll learn. :-P