Friday, March 16, 2012

Sports in YA (Where is the excitement over the London Olympics?)


I'm finding it a little bit strange actually. The Olympics are being held in London and nobody I know is talking about it. Nobody seems at all excited and the only thing I ever hear about it is how on earth is London transport going to cope with so many extra people?

I think that's rather sad. I want people, especially young people, to be excited about sports and seeing the best athletes in the world right on our doorstep. Where is the excitement? I want my boys to be inspired to be more active and take an interest in something new and I'd like that excitement and encouragement to spread amongst the people in the coming months before the Olympics. Last year, another blogger mentioned something about a sports-related blogging event, but it fell through.

I think I'd still be interested in such a thing, but I'm a little scatter-brained at the moment to organise something myself. But for now, here is a list of some YA books that cover sports in some way.


Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak - I didn't think I'd like a book about boxing, but this book really surprised me. If I'm honest, I only picked it up in order to try something else by Markus Zusak because I'd failed on several occasions to get through his The Book Thief. What I found with Ruben Wolfe, is this wonderful story about brothers and family and loyalty. And boxing.

I think in the same way that you can watch Friday Night Lights without having an interest in American football, you could read Fighting Ruben Wolfe and gain something really great even if boxing is not your thing at all!


Shut Out by Kody Keplinger - I have not yet read this book, but I'm looking forward to after reading Kody Keplinger's previous novel, The DUFF. I am wondering if this book is more concerned with gender politics and relationships and less about American football, but whatever. I am still in and totally interested!

On a slightly-unrelated note, I always wanted to play powderpuff football. I never got that chance.


Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley - OK, this is getting a little embarassing, this is another book on this list I have not yet read. I really only picked up this book on the strength of another book by the same author (North of Beautiful which was, in a word, beautiful!) but it also appeals to me as the book concerns a female athlete. I think a lot of the books I've come across researching this topic mainly relates to male athletes. More with the sporty girls, I say!

And yes, of course, snowboarding will not be covered in the summer Olympics, but I've chosen to write about sports in general today! :)


The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols - I almost didn't read this book. If, like me, you are put off by the cartoony cover, don't be! Inside the cartoon cover is still a great book about facing your fears and skiing and trying to live up to and beyond other people's expectations of you. There's also some fun gender competition and a heavy dose of romance.

This book really made me happy and is another reason why I adore Jennifer Echols as much as I do.


Swim the Fly by Don Calame - When this book came out, I got very excited. I remember leaving lots of comments on how much I was dying to read it. The thing is, my father was a competitive swimmer when he was younger (butterfly was his best stroke!). He won lots of medals and trophies and almost tried out for the Olympic team before an unfortunate accident occurred. My brother and I grew up hearing all of my dad's stories about swimming meets and practices and the two of us were on the swim team as well. And not bad at it either! I feel like a lot of my fondest memories growing up happened between heats by the side of the pool.

And yet, I still haven't read this book! I want to, I think it sounds really fun and funny. And there's already a sequel to do with music and not swimming at all. I really should get going with this one!


Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt - This is a book that I've read recently and really loved. It didn't immediately stick out at me as being a 'sports book' because it contains so much else to it - a girl coming to terms with her's father's illness, teenage rebellion, stalking the boy that sits in front of her, realising that appearances can be decieving.

I really loved the heart and emotion of this book, but also that there's a fair deal of training and hard work that is put into doing this charity cycling event within the book. I think it's really interesting to do something like that, and I'm really keen to come up with something similar myself.


Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally - This is a book that's pretty high up on my to-be-read pile. I'm really looking forward to reading it as it is another female athlete sports story. That really intrigues me, especially as the book is about American football. I'm really curious to see how that element of the story is portrayed. I'm hoping that this book isn't all about the love story/competition between girl and a boy quarterback and really shows off some good sports.

I'm hoping anyway! I know lots of people read it when it was on netgalley, but I wasn't one of them. Either way, I shall be reading this one fairly shortly.


Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler - I was talking about this book with another blogger recently and it was only when I looked it up after she mentioned it that I realised this book had to do with ice skating/ice hockey. I love that there appears to be a combination of love, sports and cupcakes in Bittersweet. What an absolute great mashup of topics, I think. I'm absolutely excited to read this book. And also the other two books I own by Sarah Ockler that I have not yet read.

Ice skating and CUPCAKES. I thought that needed repeating.


What do you think? Are you excited about the Olympics? Do you have any books about sports to recommend?

18 comments:

  1. I don't think the UK gets excited about anything. We are generally quite reserved.

    Fabulous finds though. I just read The DUFF by Kody Keplinger and it was fab, so I can't wait for her second book.

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    1. I'm really looking forward to Shut Out as well! Looks like it'll be a lot of fun :)

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  2. I'm really excited about the Olympics but I think for me it's still way off (I have so many assignments to hand in and an exam to sit and a placement to complete before they start) so it still feels a bit distant. I'm definitely going to be checking out the books on this list though, I love a good sports story :D

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    1. I guess there is a bunch of time between now and the Olympics... it doesn't feel that way to me as I have very little between now and then to look forward to! :)

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  3. Of those, I've only read Sean Griswold's Head and I loved the cycling element - it was different.

    I'm generally not drawn to sport books as I don't enjoy it - maybe I should give them another shot!

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    1. Oh yeah, I guess it does usually help to have some interest in sports first! I grew up with it surrounding me, so I guess it's probably different for me :)

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  4. Brilliant list! I've recently discovered that I love books featuring sport. I think you'd enjoy Swim The Fly - the swimming coach in it is one of my favourite characters!

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    1. Oooh, I'll look out for him :) I really do think I'll LOVE the book!

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  5. Great post - and some great book recommendations in there :)

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  6. Canada hosted the Olympics in 2012 and people went a bit insane for them, but then things like that don't happen here very often... There have been commercials on here saying how we should be excited for the 2012 ones, but I am thinking they are Canadian in origin.

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    1. I'd love to see people getting that excited about things over here! :)

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  7. Great post, I really want to read Fighting Ruben Wolfe now!

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    1. YAY! I hope you do read it and love it as much as I did :)

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  8. I really cant be excited about the olympics... sorry but I think its a bit silly the way its been handled and its tampered with my enjoyment of the event. With England being such a small country I dont see why everything had to be focussed around London, building new venues when we have adequate facilities elsewhere, Manchester is onyl 150 miles from London and has an Olympic size swimming pool and Velodrome sat around doing nothing yet we built new?! (sorry for the rant!)

    Anyway! I loved Swim the Fly and I cant wait to read Sean Griswalds Head and Girl Overboard... I do quite enjoy my sports storys as long as its a sport I enjoy... I dont think I've come across a tennis story in YA though!

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    1. But is that your thoughts about the Olympics or about your thoughts on the North/South divide?

      I don't know very much about tennis and I find it quite hard to find sports stories involving other sports aside from skiing/American football. I'd definitely like to see a bit more diversity!

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  9. That is sad that people aren't excited about the Olympics! I was in London for the first time when that was announced, and people seemed excited then...

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    1. Were they? That's heartening at least!

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