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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Play Ball!

Perhaps you read this blog because you play soccer, or softball, or lacrosse. You might ride horses, or walk on balance beams. Maybe you are a young woman breaking barriers. You spend your time on the wrestling mat, the gridiron, or the ice. Maybe you love just love writing or reading about girls who do.

Whatever the case, I think you will understand the joy I felt when I came downstairs from my home office last week to find a brand new baseball glove on my dining table. “What’s this?” I asked even though I knew. The glove was black leather with pink accents. (Why is it that fitted for women so often means accented with pink?)

“A new glove for you so you can play catch with us,” my younger son said. Both the younger and older stood by with wide grins.

The only glove I've called mine was an ancient catchers mitt from my father. The glove, that I still have, is so old that it has actual sheep fleece on the inside. It’s still too big for me. My Dad, a busy attorney, made time to throw and catch with me. I was never very good at either, so I remember fondly playing alone and throwing the ball up towards the branches of the 200-year-old oak that stood in our Washington, DC yard. Sometimes I caught these “fly balls” as they came down. More often than not the ball skittered across the lawn bumping over acorns so that I’d have to chase it down.

“Put it on,” young son said, pulling me back to the moment. He showed me how it’s cooler to let your index finger rest on the back of the glove. I could immediately feel the extra control that came with that, but anxiety prickled my neck thinking about my wild throws and dropped balls.

“You'll have to teach me how,” I told them.

This winter has been long – too long. Crazy, winter weary, cabin-fever long. My new glove is spring, and the love of my baseball-obsessed sons.  Next week, the older will start baseball tryouts for the freshman team at his high school.  The junior high starts not long after that. There will be carpools to practices and games. Maybe a new folding chair for me but maybe not. Maybe I'll be busy catching fly balls on the edge of the field with my new glove. Play ball!

***Please note: Anna J. Boll is re-becoming Anna Eleanor Jordan.***

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SKINNY by Donna Cooner

SKINNY isn't a typical book for Sporty Girl Books. Ever, the main character, is anything but athletic as she self medicates with food--and lots of it. But when I read this book last week, I felt like it was something we should talk about here at Sporty Girl Books. Ever, the main character has a voice in her head, Skinny, who makes her feel awful for her body, for the person she is, and makes her feel like everyone is against her, while in reality, that isn't the case. We all hear voices from time to time telling us we're not good enough, or interpreting that gaze or laugh from an acquaintance or stranger. SKINNY is the story of Ever overcoming both the unhealthy voice in her head and also the unhealthy weight on her body. It's her slow journey to finding who she really is. 

How many of us have voices in our heads telling us we're not good enough, we can't break that record, finish the climb, make it one more lap in the pool, hit that curve ball, or ever find the right clothes to wear? I constantly find myself issuing mantras to combat the voices in my head. But sometimes it isn't enough and the negative voices win. How do you stay positive and turn off the mean voices in your own head? 

Positive thoughts are power. May we overcome the voices in our heads so we can emerge our best selves.

From Goodreads:

Find your voice.

Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies’s head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she’ll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it. 

But there is another voice: Ever’s singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical—and partly to try and save her own life—Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over.

With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I’m happy to review PODIUM FINISH by Beth Pond this month. The author contacted us at Sporty Girl Books and the publisher (Astraea Press) sent us an e-ARC.

Goodreads blurb:

With six months until the Olympic Games, seventeen-year-old Harper's life is pretty much perfect. She's fighting for the starting spot on Team USA Women's Hockey, and for the first time ever, she has a crush on a guy who likes her back. She feels like the luckiest girl in the world, until she runs a risky play at practice and breaks her knee, thereby sentencing herself to six weeks in a cast and possibly ending her Olympic dream before it even starts.

For seventeen-year-old Alex, being anything less than the best is unacceptable. That's why, after a miserable debut season at the senior level, the former junior national singles champion switches to ice dance. Her skating partner, Ace, is an "all skating all the time" type of guy, which would be fine, if he'd stop keeping secrets about the real reason he and his former partner broke up. Now is not the time for second thoughts, but how can Alex skate her best if she can’t trust her partner…or herself?

As the pressure to make the Olympic team builds, the girls must rely on each other, because if there’s one thing they both know, it's that the only thing harder than skating to the top is staying there.

This was a great book for me to read, as it’s a great comp for my own YA contemporary. Told in alternating points of view, PODIUM FINISH follows two roommates at the Colorado Olympic Training Camp. Harper is a women’s hockey player, and Alex is an ice dancer. They are both working to make the US Olympic Team.

There’s a romance subplot with Harper and a speed skater, Rye. I wish there had been a little more of the romance, I loved Rye and wanted more of him! And I was waiting for romance to develop between Alex and her partner, Ace. There was some great romantic tension that felt unrealized to me!

The two individual stories are well told—the author has a great handle on both sports and really shows how hard the girls work to achieve their dreams. They both struggle a bit with communicating their emotions and the both have issues with their parents. They both have doubts and challenges to overcome in their separate sports. I love the allusion to superstition.

While both stories are really well-written, I would have loved to see more connection between the girls’ journeys – to see some joint stakes. But that’s really my only criticism; this is a great book for anyone who loves the Olympics, or who loves ice hockey or ice dancing.

It’s a great example of a sporty girl book.