Friday, January 03, 2020

Throw Like a Girl

Henning, Sarah. Throw Like a Girl
January 7th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Recommended to me by Erin Fry

Liv Rodinsky is a great softball player and enjoys her private school team, but when comments are made about the coach (who is her sister and married to a woman) she punches another player. This gets her kicked off the team and booted out of school because she loses her scholarship. She ends up back at the local high school, where she hopes she can get on the softball team in the spring. The coach makes her a deal-- if she can play another sport and show that she can control her anger and be a good teammate, she has a chance. When Grey, a quarterback on the Northland team (whose mother happens to be the softball coach) sees Liv tossing around a football with her younger brother, he makes her a proposition-- if she will be the substitute quarterback, he'll put in a good word with his mom. Liv was thinking of running cross country, but is okay with football, even if her parents are not and she has to hide her participation from them. The football coach is impressed with her playing, and very soon Liv makes some fantastic plays that get her a lot of notice. Her parents eventually cave. She ends up dating Grey, and starts to worry that his various injuries might be more serious than he will admit to, and that it isn't a great idea for him to keep playing. There is some YA misunderstanding and angst, but in the end, everything works out.
Strengths: We're getting there. Girls can play football, and there's no major roadblocks in Liv's way. There is a little bit of pushback about Liv playing, but not a lot. No jerky coaches, no mistreatment by the entire team, etc. Liv is a good player, and people appreciate her. The romance with Grey is a nice touch. I love that Liv's family is supportive, and her interactions with her sister and brother (who is younger) are fun and realistic.
Weaknesses: Concussions are a huge concern, and while there is a little information about Grey's problems, I wish there had been more discussion.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing for fans of Tigelaar's Playing with the Boys, Murdock's Dairy Queen, and Heldring's The Football Girl. We've actually had more girls playing football at my school than boys cheering in the last twenty years, although it's still only two girls and one boy!

Hill, Clarence Jr. Troy Aikman (A Football Hall of Fame Biography)
September 3rd 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Public library copy

I've been enjoying Dan Wetzel's Epic Athletes series from Henry Holt, and they have been circulating very well, so I thought I would take a look at this series. Like Epic Athletes, this talked a lot about Aikman's childhood and his entry into sports, but also follows his entire playing career as well as his retirement. The author clearly knows his stuff, since he covered the Cowboys as a news writer, and the bibliography is impressive.

I'm just not sure that my students know who Aikman is or care about him in the way they do the athletes covered by Epic Athletes. The other biographies in this series are John Madden and Michael Strahan. I could get behind this if the series covered players who are no longer active but are still well known, but I don't know enough about football to list who that might be. (Joe Namath? Terry Bradshaw? Franco Harris?  Joe Montana? Didn't date myself at all with that list!) I'll have to talk to some of my sports fans before I purchase these. This was well done, but I don't know how much it will circulate.
Ms. Yingling


  1. Good question. It might circulate well, though, because Aikman is now a sports broadcaster like Michael Strahan and Terry Bradshaw. And, yes, you did date yourself with those names but that's the same list I would have come up with!

  2. Aha! Do students watch broadcasts? That makes a lot of sense, though. Thanks!