Tag Archive | sports

Not If I See You First, by Eric Lindstrom (book review) – Blind to love?

book cover of Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom published by Poppy | recommended on BooksYALove.comA blind runner,
a set of rules for all occasions,
any room for forgiveness?

Lost her mom and her sight at age 7, lost her trust in love in 8th grade, lost her dad last year – Parker has hardened her heart against more pain, but avoiding Scott is no longer an option when their high schools merge.

Jog over to your local library or independent bookstore to meet Parker and see if her blind spot about Scott is bigger than her capacity to forgive.  Not If I See You First just came out in paperback last week.

The author, Eric Lindstrom, curated the contents of the November 2016 package for NOVLbox book service, so enter their contest here and you might be one of ten lucky winners.

What’s your blind spot?

Book info: Not If I See You First / Eric Lindstrom. Poppy, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Merger of the New England town’s high schools places Scott back in Parker’s path, but she wants to ignore the guy who violated her trust during 8th grade, pretend that her aunt and family didn’t have to move into her house to help the blind teen cope after her father’s recent death, and brush off the track coach’s request that she train with a guide-runner for the Paralympics.

Too-honest Parker wears unique blindfolds as a fashion statement, she and best-friend-forever Sarah listen to others’ problems, and at least they didn’t have to move when the schools merged.

But can she cope with having Scott in her trig class, nightly dreams about her late father, and figuring out how this dating stuff goes with Jason?


Flipside, by Shawn Johnson (book review) – Olympic dreams or dreamy guy??

book cover of The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson with A.L. Sonnichsen published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comSuper gymnast – hooray!
Quiet high school kid – okay.
The same girl – really??

Charlie wants to experience just one year of public high school as “normal” teen Charlotte before she tries out for the US Olympic gymnastics team, but keeping up with homework and intensive practice is much easier than staying away from the cute guy who wants to take her to prom… Focus, Charlie, focus!!

Shawn Johnson pulls from her own experiences as a teen Olympic gold medalist (yes, she’s a commentator at the Rio 2016 Games, too) in her first YA book.

Peek into Charlie/Charlotte’s life with the first chapter here free, courtesy of the publisher, then check out The Flip Side at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s your gold medal dream?

Book info: The Flip Side / Shawn Johnson, with A.L. Sonnichsen. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author Facebook]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Intent on being just a teen for a while, Olympic gymnastic hopeful Charlie remakes herself as Charlotte for school, but balancing her grades with high-level practice time turns out to be easier than avoiding the distraction of cute Bobby.

She is Charlotte at school so no one will treat her like a celebrity – being swarmed by starry-eyed young gymnasts at meets is enough! So Charlie doesn’t even tell best friend Zoe who she really is – after the Olympic trials in a few weeks, everyone will know…

Then upperclassman Bobby starts talking to her and life gets so complicated – now it’s Charlie who is starry-eyed! And he asks her to the prom, which is the weekend before Olympic tryouts!!

Can Charlie stay focused on her training as she and Bobby get closer?
Can Charlotte keep up her grades so her parents let her stay in school?
Can she make the Olympic team???

Written by Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, this story of first love and one-time opportunities flips and twists with Charlie’s emotions. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid, by Guiseppe Catozzella (book review) – run for glory, run to stay alive

US book cover of Don't Tell Me You're Afraid by Giuseppe Catozzella translated by Anne Milano Appel published by Penguin Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comRun, so you don’t get caught.
Leave home, because staying is deadly.
Olympic dreams in a war-torn land.

Samia ran for joy when a child, ran for her country in the Olympics, fled Somalia knowing the dangers of “the journey” seeking a better life as her sister had.

A fictionalized account of the real young woman who was part of Somalia’s 2-person team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, happy US book birthday to this strong story of hope and determination, released earlier this year in the UK as Little Warrior !

Could you leave your family behind, for freedom?

Book info: Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid / Guiseppe Catozzella; translated by Anne Milano Appel. Penguin Press, 2016. [author site – in Italian]  [translator website] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: In the war-torn streets of Mogadishu, Samia loses her childhood friend and running coach to extremist gangs, perseveres as a athlete dreaming of running in the Olympics, and keeps traveling toward freedom, regardless of the dangers.

From the age of 10, Samia ran with the 2008 Olympics as her goal, inspired by refugee and world-class runner Mo Farah, coached by her best friend Ali, winning race after race in their Somalian city.

As rival militias recruited all young men into their religious factions, Ali left Samia’s neighborhood. Still she ran, gaining the attention of Somalia’s small Olympic Committee and earning a spot at the 2008 Beijing Games as a teen. How proud she was to represent her homeland!

But militia fighters wouldn’t let her practice when she returned to Mogadishu.
Time to take “the journey” as her sister had – through the desert, across the Mediterranean, to Europe – as Mo Farah had – to a place with enough to eat and running shoes that fit and freedom to run…

Based on the true story of Samia Yusuf Omar, who grew up with constant war as an “older sister” and ran anyway.

Summer of Sloane, by Erin L. Schneider (book review) – no more us, now who is she?

book cover of Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider published by Disney-Hyperion  | recommended on BooksYALove.comSloane’s best friend is pregnant!
By Sloane’s boyfriend!
Oh, leaving town is definitely an excellent idea!!

Even with a broken hand from punching Tyler in the nose, she can enjoy the beach with her twin brother at Mom’s house in Hawai’i, pretend she doesn’t care about her former friends (girl- and boy-) in Seattle (if they would please quit texting and calling and emailing with excuses for why it happened!), and start over as just Sloane, instead of eternally being half of a duo.

She didn’t plan on an attraction to Finn that maybe might be more than a summer fling… on the beach, you’ve got to watch out for the biggest waves.

Have you ever re-invented yourself when moving to a new place?

Book info:  Summer of Sloane / Erin L. Schneider. Disney Hyperion, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Sloane’s best friend Mick gets pregnant by Sloane’s boyfriend, the Seattle teen is more than ready to head to Mom’s Hawai’i home and try to find her true self with no summer romance! Swim lessons for scared-of-water young Luce are doable, even with her wrist cast, but staying away from her big brother Finn is nearly impossible.

Punching Tyler in the nose? Satisfying, if hand-breaking.
Ignoring texts from him and Mick? Difficult, but necessary.
Falling for Finn? Uh-oh…

As her Hawai’i pal Mia declares it “the summer of Sloane” to reinvent herself as single and happy, she tries to shut out the past, even as Finn is reminded of it always by his aloof father. And the days of summer count down, one by one…

I is investigating football concussions & Second Impact dangers, by David & Perri Klass (book review)

book cover of Second Impact by David Klass and Perri Klass published by Square Fish | BooksYALove.comFootball, hard hits,
blanked-out moments,
keep on playing?

With a possible football championship the only bright spot in their small town, folks don’t take kindly to a young investigative reporter asking why the high school coach isn’t benching players with confirmed concussions longer.

With recent reports on NFL concussions and continuing concerns about head injuries in teen athletes, stories like the situation described in Second Impact  have long-lasting consequences.

Read an excerpt here courtesy of the publisher, then head to your local library or independent bookstore to find this hard-hitting book told in two voices by a brother and sister writing team with much experience in sports and medicine, respectively.

Is it okay to play through pain?

Book info:  Second Impact / David Klass and Perri Klass. Frances Foster Books, 2013; paperback Square Fish, 2014. [David’s bio]  [Perri’s site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A young sports reporter’s investigation of concussions sparks angry reactions as their New Jersey high school football team prepares for the championship, but her persistence may save someone’s life.

Carla covers sports for the Kendall High newspaper, and Jerry makes headlines as the winning quarterback (after the drunk car wreck fiasco blew over). She’s convinced him to join her in blogging about football and life, while she writes about recovering from soccer-ending ACL injury.

Things get dicey when her sports injuries series in the school paper starts talking about concussions, just as their star receiver misses a game after getting his bell rung.

Will Carla rehab from her knee injury and play soccer again?
Can Jerry push the team hard enough to win, no matter who is hurting?
When the Tigers’ possible championship is the only positive topic in their blue-collar town, can criticizing the coach be a good thing?

Told in alternating voices by a brother-sister writing team, this novel of blogs, emails, and conversations brings up tough questions for the kids at Kendall High and the adults who live in their reflected glory.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

O is Oryon in Changers: Book 2, by T Cooper & Alison Glock Cooper (book review)

book cover of Changers Book 2 Oryon by T Cooper and Allison Glock Cooper published by Black SheepWhich body will it be this time?
What lessons will Ethan learn this year – the hard way?
Any closer to discovering zer personal life mission?

Four bodies in four years – a rough way to go through high school, and with deadly enemies trying to unmask and eliminate every Changer teen!

This is the second book in the Changers series, which began when Ethan suddenly became Drew (my no-spoiler review here), so ask for them both at your local library or independent bookstore.

Visit the wearechangers.org site to post your ‘unselfies’ and consider empathy and life.

Could you stay yourself if your gender, race, or personal skills changed overnight?

Book info: Changers: Book 2 – Oryon / T Cooper & Alison Glock Cooper. Black Sheep/Akashic Books, 2015.  [T Cooper author site]  [Alison Glock author site]   [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Waking up on first day of sophomore year in a new body as Oryon, this teen must learn to deal with prejudice and discrimination as he struggles to obey Changer rules by avoiding his best friend from his previous identity as a girl.

Transformed overnight from a petite white female cheerleader into a tall, lanky African-American male does make Oryon’s life challenging. This year the Changer Council has kept him at the same high school, explaining his white parents as his newest foster family.

And sweet Audrey, closest friend from last year is in his homeroom! Yes! But of course, she doesn’t recognize Oryon in this body so unlike Drew’s….

Oryon decides to try out for football, but being nearer to Audrey and the other cheerleaders also means being much too close to her brother, a vicious Abider, sworn to wipe out Changers like himself…

Halfway through his/her four years of changing bodies to discover which one s/he’ll live in forever, Ethan/Drew/Oryon has to deal with the conservative Changers Council, the Radical Changers who escape the rules, the Abiders trying to uncover all Changers – and falling in love, again!  Second in the series which began with Changers Book 1: Drew.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Buzz Kill, by Beth Fantaskey (book review) – dead coach, teen sleuth, too many suspects!

book cover of Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey published by Houghton Mifflin HarcourtOne geeky teen girl reporter with few friends.
One new quarterback with no personal history.
One rival cheerleader/reporter with a grudge.
One dead coach with a long list of enemies.

There are more motives for murder, offbeat theories, and potential killers in this story than you can shake a honey-stick at, as loner Millie tries to prove that her dad couldn’t have killed the coach and finds an unexpected ally in new-to-Honeyville Chase who fends off cheerleader Vivienne’s advances as smoothly as he quarterbacks the team to victory.

And how I wish that the video of Viv’s humiliating encounter with the Stingers’ mascot was really on YouTube!  Grab this at your local library or favorite independent bookstore for a fun football Friday read anytime.


Book info: Buzz Kill / Beth Fantaskey. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When the Stingers’ belligerent head coach is murdered at his own football field, Millie puts her reporting skills (and deep knowledge of Nancy Drew mysteries) to work to find the killer.

Millie’s rival on the school newspaper staff is trying to pin the crime on her dad (who’s been named as acting coach), the cute new quarterback (who has no background online at all) decides to help her investigate, and her librarian (who’s guided her through those difficult years after Mom’s death) reveals a decision which shocks her dreadfully.

With 100% overlap between the suspect list and the roster of Coach Killdare’s enemies, socially inept Millie and suavely charming Chase discover motives aplenty, find clues that don’t add up, and unearth some dangerous secrets in this funny maybe-romantic mystery, along with an inept detective, old movies, homemade pie, a smelly dog, and international paperweights. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Broken brain, bent mind in SYNC audiobooks – listen and beware!

Go deep into the human brain and mind – if you dare!

Through Wednesday, July 30, you can download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC, then listen to these 2 explorations of what’s inside one man’s skull. Just remember to keep the Overdrive Media files on your device or computer, and read with your ears at any convenient time.

CD cover of Headstrong by Patrick Link Read by Deidrie Henry, Ernie Hudson, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, & Scott Wolf Published by L.A. Theatre WorksHeadstrong (download here)
By Patrick Link
Read by Deidrie Henry, Ernie Hudson, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, & Scott Wolf
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

The celebrated hard hits in pro football take on new meaning as a retired NFL linebacker faces tragedy in their aftermath.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde CD cover of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde By Robert Louis Stevenson Read by Scott Brick Published by Tantor Audio(download here)
By Robert Louis Stevenson
Read by Scott Brick
Published by Tantor Audio

Everyone has heard of mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll and his malevolent alter ego Mr. Hyde – now it’s time to hear the whole dark tale in its original form.

How does the mind work? How does the brain work? How do we go on when they don’t? Read with your ears to find out.

Second Star, by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (book review) – Wendy, Peter & surfboards

book cover of Second Star by Alyssa B Sheinmel published by Farrar Straus GirouxLost boys, runaways, surfers,
Grieving parents sleepwalking through life,
Sister looking everywhere.

Wendy’s desperate journey up the PCH twines around the framework of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan as the big sister pushes past her own fears to find John and Michael who’ve been gone so long.

Dive into an excerpt here free, then ask for Second Star at your favorite local library or independent bookstore today to see how Wendy deals with Pete and Jas, who are trying so hard not to grow up.


Book info: Second Star / Alyssa B. Sheinmel. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2014.   [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Searching for her missing twin brothers, Wendy’s encounter with a group of runaways who live only to surf changes the teen forever.

Wendy believes that John and Michael are still chasing the best waves, several months after police closed their missing persons case, so she heads up the coast to find the beach in their favorite photo.

At Kensington, where cliffside houses are sliding into the Pacific, she discovers a colony of runaways who’ve seen her brothers. Pete teaches her to surf, tries to steer her away from nearby drug-dealer Jas who might have more information. Belle is Pete’s girlfriend, except that she isn’t?

If her wish on the Second Star  comes true, Wendy will make her family whole again in this California retelling of Peter Pan.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Art of Lainey, by Paula Stokes (book review) – using war strategy to woo him back

book cover of The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes published by HarperTeenHow dare Jason break up with her in public?
Everyone knows he and Lainey belong together!
This means war… to get him back.

BFF Bianca suggests using expert advice from their assigned summer reading to make Jason so jealous that he’ll be back with Lainey to start their senior year – if Sun Tzu’s Art of War  won’t work, what will?

Read the first chapters here for free, then ask for this May 2014 original paperback at your local library or independent bookstore to find out whether Lainey’s war for Jason’s heart is worth the battles.


Book info: The Art of Lainey / Paula Stokes. HarperTeen, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Publicly dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Lainey uses strategies from The Art of War to get him back – with surprising results.

When Mom saw “big changes, separation” in the tea leaves, Lainey thought it meant best friend Kendall’s trip to New York, not losing Jason to his gorgeous ambulance partner! Bianca says Sun Tzu’s strategies work today, so Lainey begins her full-time war to get him back.

“Be deceptive.” Co-workers from her parents’ coffee shop help with Lainey’s campaign – preppy Leo trying to get his girlfriend back and pierced punk Micah with his mohawk, tattoos, and mysterious past.

“Be flexible.” A college play, a goth music club – Lainey and her fake dates stay busy and visible in their St. Louis suburb between shifts at Denali.

“If you know the enemy and yourself, your victory will not be in doubt.” Fretting over Jason isn’t helping her soccer scholarship chances, so she and Bianca talk while they run – five fake dates with Micah are eye-opening, especially when bumping into Jason and that Alex girl “accidentally.”

“If equally matched, we can offer battle.” Jason finally asks Lainey to sub on his summer co-ed soccer team? Bring it on!
“When you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” Fourth of July fair with more-fun-than-fake-date Micah or party at Jason’s house? Hmm…

Following an ancient Chinese warlord’s tactics will get Lainey what she really wants before summer ends, right? (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)