7 Slam-Dunk Sports Fiction Titles for Teens | Summer Reading 2020

Readers will cheer for these YA books about boxing, basketball, field hockey, and more.

Readers will cheer for these YA books about boxing, basketball, field hockey, and more.

Gravity by Sarah Deming. Random/Make Me a World. ISBN 9780525581031.

Gravity Delgado, a scrappy half-Dominican, half-Jewish girl, dreams of becoming a champion boxer. She’s proud of her undefeated record and hopes to make a booming entrance onto the Olympic scene, but her focus is constantly at risk of being pulled in different directions.

Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab. Inkyard. ISBN 9781335050236.

Susannah Ramos is a world champion, but doesn’t much feel like one since she had a growth spurt that has slowed her down. In the year leading up to the Olympic trials, Susannah struggles to regain her speed in the water, all while dealing with her controlling coach’s expectations and the huge amount of pressure she places on herself. Then she meets Harry.

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. ISBN 9780062847195.

One prescription is all it takes to kick-start softball phenom Mickey Catalan’s frightening descent into opioid addiction. From the horrific first line to the hopeful yet devastating conclusion, this powerful, harrowing, and compassionate story humanizes addiction and will challenge readers to rethink what they may believe about addicts.

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds. S & S/Atheneum. ISBN 9781442459472.

Ali lives with his mother, Doris, and kid sister, Jazz, in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn and—when he’s not boxing—spends his free time with best friends Noodles and Needles, brothers who live in a run-down brownstone next door.

book covers

Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu .illus. by author. First Second. (Check, Please!: Bk. 2). ISBN 9781250179500.

Ukazu continues the saga of small-town Georgia boy Eric “Bitty” Bittle as he begins his junior year at Samwell University and strives to balance his studies with baking, hockey, and his new long-distance relationship with former teammate and current pro hockey player Jack Zimmerman.

We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian. S. & S. ISBN 9781534439900.

Last year the Wildcats, the varsity field hockey team, had a winning season, until they lost the state finals for the first time in years. The night before the first game of the new season, the team holds the traditional sleepover to forge friendship and trust, but this year Coach interferes.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang. illus. by author. First Second. ISBN 9781626720794.

A year after publishing his well-received Boxers and Saints, graphic novelist and math teacher Yang was beset by writer’s block. But his curiosity was piqued by the Dragons, his school’s men’s varsity basketball team.

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