While we might be missing watching and playing sports these days, we are lucky that there are so many great young adult books which are centered around our favorite games. From swimming and gymnastics to baseball and soccer and more, there is a YA book for every sports fan. Here is our list of 10 great YA books with athletes as protagonists.
Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning
When Liv throws one ill-advised punch, she loses her teammates, boyfriend and softball scholarship to her private school in one go. With no other option, she is forced to transfer to the public school of the softball player she injured. Grey is the school’s injured quarterback who strikes a deal with Liv: have her be his temporary replacement on the football team and he’ll help her get on the softball team.
Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab
Susannah is determined to be a swimming world champion. But when a slowdown puts her dreams in jeopardy, Susannah turns to a new coach and fellow swimmer, Harry. As she fights her way to the top, Susannah will learn what it takes to make her dreams – and romance – a reality.
Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli
Audrey Lee is going to the Olympics. One year ago, it didn’t seem possible due to a drastic spine injury. While Audrey is excited, the pressure is high, and when news rips the team apart, Audrey is willing to fight for her hurt teammate – but not everyone is on the same side.
Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
Former junior figure skating champion, vlogger, and pâtissier, Eric Bittle has moved from Georgia to Samwell University – and it is nothing like he expected. It’s not like the co-ed team from home and there’s checking involved. There’s also a very cute Jack who happens to be the team captain…
Fence, Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, Joana LaFuente, Jim Campbell
Nicholas is the talented illegitimate kid of a retired fencing champion. When he gets accepted to Kings Row, he is not only competing against his half-brother but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama. Nicholas and the other boys will slowly learn that there’s more to life than fencing.
Swing by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess
Noah just might have been cut from the baseball team, and his love interest, Sam, may never be anything more than best friend. When he comes across 1960’s love letters, Noah takes the inspiration and begins to write love letters to Sam.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
Hermione Winters is the cheer captain, envied girlfriend, and queen of the school. But when someone slips her something into her drink at a party, Hermione becomes the victim, survivor, raped girl. But through it all she can still call herself Polly Oliver’s best friend.
Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
When Mickey ends up in a car crash right before softball season starts, she has to figure out how to hold her catcher spot on a team expected to win big. Fortunately the painkillers can help her get back to the plate. But they also make her feel good. As she meets a new group of friends, the pressure increases and soon she loses control.
Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia
When Peyton Rios is offered a spot on her first-pick college’s soccer team, senior year seems to start on the right foot. But when she learns of her boyfriend’s dark secret and confronts him about it, Peyton falls down a flight of stairs and her knee is shattered. When she is sent to Tennessee to stay with her uncle and focus on recovery, she never expected to meet Owen Law – and lose her heart to him.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiely
Rashad is a typical 17-year-old: goes to school, parties with friends, works on his sketches, and participates in ROTC. But Rashad is also black, so when a woman trips over him in a convenience store, a white cop jumps to racist conclusions and beats him up. Quinn, a white kid at the same schools, didn’t see what triggered the beating, but he did see the rest – including the cop he considers his brother. But Quinn also plays basketball with some of Rashad’s friends who tell him the cop’s story is wrong and wonders if he should say anything.