Books by Lorie Ann Grover

Books by Lorie Ann Grover
Kirkus Starred Review, Firstborn: "A fantasy that reads like a lost history tome and deftly examines issues of gender...An engrossing story with welcome depths."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What a Girl Wants: Female Sports Heroes in YA Lit

Girl Overboard coverColleen, over at Chasing Ray, has posted her latest entry for What a Girl Wants. We are talking sporty books. Here's my submission. Thanks, Colleen. Yay, for Justina and Justine for giving us great female athletic characters!

"I haven’t had female sports books cross my desk like male sports books have. There is no Chris Crutcher for girls, right? The closest is maybe Catherine Gilbert Murdock with her Dairy Queen, Front and Center, and Off Season.

I do think of Justina Chen’s Girl Overboard, snowboarding at its best. Justine Larbalestier’s novel How to Ditch Your Fairy is another excellent example of sporty girls.

Thinking of Justine brought to mind this post at her blog where she discusses the topic with Doret, The Happy Nappy Bookseller. Doret Canton, my fellow panelist at What a Girl Wants, recommends:

Boost by Kathy Mackel

Soccer Chicks Rule by Dawn FitzGerald

Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park

Necessary Hunger by Nina Revoyr

A Strong Right Arm by Michelle Green

The Ring by Bobbie Pyron

Twenty Miles by Cara Hedley Hockey

Despite these examples, it’s obvious we don’t feature female athletes at the rate we feature male athletes. How athletic are our female YA novelists? Can they draw from their own history? Certainly our experiences aren't still limited like my mother-in-law's who found sports radically limited in her high school due to “the delicate constitution of females.” Rather, is the lack of YA female sports books simply because publishers deny their marketability?

Regardless, I’m betting you will find mean girls, romance, and coming of age in the sports novels that do reach the shelves. It’s not as if those elements aren’t in the athletic arena.

Here’s to challenging YA authors to represent female athletes and publishers to back them. I’m off to think…"

1 comment:

Kris said...

Lorie -- thanks for this list! I'm writing a YA sports romance, and I just starting putting together a resource of books with sports themes for girls.