Sunday, December 22, 2019

Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning

I don't normally go in for the cute, fluffy books, but the prospect of a female quarterback playing on an otherwise all-male team was too intriguing to ignore. My high school actually had a girl playing on the junior varsity team, and since I went to high school a while ago, people made a much bigger deal of that then than they did in this book. Sexism in sports is a real thing, yo.

THROW LIKE A GIRL is about a girl named Liv. She's the darling of her private school, a key player on the softball team, and a solid contender for the homecoming court. Then one day, a girl says something homophobic about her sister, an out lesbian who is also the coach for their team, and Liv decks her in the face, breaking her nose. Which means suspension. Which means the loss of her scholarship. Which means no more private school.

Liv has no choice but to transfer to the public school across town, which isn't exactly eager to take her on their softball team. Liv has to prove her team spirit first, and that seems like it might be impossible until the male quarterback from the football team sees her throw something in a fit of anger and tells her she's got a good arm. A quid pro quo deal is worked out: if she joins the football team and does well, then maybe she can go for softball, too.

This book was fine. It didn't really have a lot of depth and Liv had serious anger management issues. I also thought it was pretty dumb that she never told anyone why she punched the mean girl. Her love interest, Grey, also does something pretty stupid, refusing to tell anyone about a pretty serious problem that could have drastic consequences on his health. I know, I know, I'm a thirty-year-old woman and these are teenagers. I know-- but still, it was so stupid.

That said, the usual things that make books like these unbearable-- obnoxiously plucky heroines, teenagers acting like out of touch adults, fake swearing, girl-on-girl hate, internalized misogyny-- were blissfully absent. THROW LIKE A GIRL takes a pretty healthy look at the camaraderie of sports without any of the sexist stuff, and there's some pretty great female relationships in here too.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!     

2.5 to 3 out of 5 stars

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