YA Fiction: New Sporty Slice-Of-Life Stories to Score this Spring!

Young Adult sports fiction dives into athletics and the complexities of adolescence, making them appealing to both sports enthusiasts and young readers. Keep reading to find out what’s new this spring!

Fiction LGBTQIA+ Reads New Release Recommendations Young Adult

Young Adult sports fiction is a captivating genre that combines the thrill of athletic competition with the emotional journeys of young protagonists. These novels often delve into the challenges, triumphs, and personal growth of characters as they navigate their sports endeavors. Whether it’s tennis, basketball, track, or any other sport, these books provide an exciting backdrop for exploring themes of friendship, determination, and self-discovery.

Tell Me You Love Me: A Standalone Brother’s Best Friend Romance by Gracie Graham

Some promises are made to be broken.

Tell Me You Love Me tells the story of Brynn Nichols, a college student with a complicated relationship with her brother’s best friend. Brynn has always been attracted to Cade, but he seems to enjoy teasing and tormenting her. But when football and summer classes take them to the same college, they end up sharing an apartment for summer studies, and their feelings for each other become harder to ignore. And Brynn is hiding a dark secret from her past that could ruin everything. Will Cade be able to keep his promise to her brother and protect her — or will their forbidden romance end in tragedy?

Fuzzy background of a playing field with stadium lights on. In the forefront on the left hand side is a football player wearing an orange jersey and helmet and dark blue pants, holding a football in his gloved right hand. Along the right hand side of the book cover is the title, written in white handwriting font: Boys of Riverside Tell Me You Love Me. Along the bottom of the cover, in white lettering, is the authors name: Gracie Graham.

Although part of the Boys of Riverside series by Gracie Graham, this can be read as a standalone story, scheduled for release this week on February 28!

Breathing Underwater by Abbey Lee Nash

She’s trying to get back into the swim of things — and it feels like going off the deep end!

Breathing Underwater follows the life of Tess, a competitive swimmer who suffers a seizure and is diagnosed with epilepsy. Tess struggles to cope with her new condition, her uncertain future, and her feelings for Charlie, a new rival and lifeguard at the pool. This splashing story by Abbey Lee Nash explores topics like epilepsy, inclusivity in student athletics, changing friendships, young romance, and the power of love and community.

The head and shoulders of young blonde woman who is underwater, as evident by the bubbles around her head and hair. Written across the book cover, in first black text and then white text, is the title: Breathing Underwater. In the lower right corner is the author's name: Abbey Lee Nash.

Take a dive and pre-order now; this book comes out March 5.

Strong Like You by T. L. Simpson

His father taught him everything he knows… except how to find him when he needs him most.

Strong Like You is a book about a teenage boy named Walker from the Ozarks — and star player on the football team — who is searching for his missing father, who taught him everything he knows about strength and manhood. Walker faces many challenges at home, at school, and in his quest. Narratively driven as if Walker is talking to his father, this new story by T.L. Simpson explores themes of manhood, family, resilience….and, of course, sports!

In the forefront on the right hand side is a side-view of a football player, wearing  a jersey with the number 25 on it. In the background is the silhouetted portrait of a fatherly figure with a full beard, wearing a baseball cap and a jacket. In the lower left portion of the book cover, in white lettering, is the title: Strong Like You. Across the bottom, also in white lettering, is the author's name: T.L. Simpson.

Go long and score a pre-order now; this one comes out on March 12.

We Are Mayhem by Beck Rourke-Mooney

Maybe she has the strength to change indie wrestling.

We Are Mayhem, Beck Rourke-Mooney’s debut novel, is about finding your strength, embracing your inner-weird, and always being who you truly are. Birdie and her family move from New Jersey to the Catskills. She’s trying to make new friends, but after a stupid dare gone wrong, Birdie finds she now owes a debt and gets involved in a family-run indie wrestling promotion to pay it off. She’ll have to face issues with her body image, gender identity, and new friendships as she tries to fit in, find her bliss, and maybe pull this male-dominated wrestling promotion in a more feminist direction.

Bubblegum pink background. A muscular teenage girl is crouched down. She is wearing a sporty outfit - a sports bra and loose work-out pants with blue and white sneakers. She has a short shaved haircut with a dark reddish color. Across the book cover, in big semi-transparent yellow lettering with blue flames about each word block, is the title: We Are Mayhem. Across the top right of the cover, in black lettering, are the words "sometimes the opponent you're wrestling is yourself." Across the bottom of the cover, in bold black lettering, is the author's name: Beck Rourke-Mooney.

Pre-orders are available now — this one goes to the mat for the first time on March 19.

The Misdirection of Fault Lines by Anna Gracia

Talk with your racquet; play with your heart.

The Misdirection of Fault Lines is a coming-of-age story about three Asian American teenage girls who compete at an elite tennis tournament and face various personal challenges along the way. The book follows Alice, Violetta, and Leylah, who have different backgrounds, goals, and struggles, as they try to find their own paths in life and in tennis. Anna Gracia writes in a true-to-life teen voice that perfectly captures the messiness of adolescence and the pressures of expectation, exploring grief, addiction, identity, friendships, competitive natures, and ambition.

The background is of a blue bright blue sky with a fluffy white cloud. In the forefront are three young women. From left to right: A brunette girl wearing a classic tennis outfit with a green polo shirt and white tennis skirt. She has one hand on her hip, and she is taking a selfie with her cellphone. In the middle is a dark curly-haired girl wearing a baggier orange shirt tucked into her blue tennis shorts. She has one fist pressed to her cheek - a look of contemplation. On the right is a girl with dark hair cut in a bob above the shoulders. She is wearing a red visor, a yellow v-neck polo, and a red tennis skirt. She has a tennis racket resting on one shoulder, and her other hand is tipping the bill of her visor. Across the top half of the cover are the title, the author, and the words: From the author of Boys I Know, Anna Gracia, The Misdirection of Fault Lines.

If you enjoy books like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, then pre-order The Misdirection of Fault Lines now and serve it — smash it – win it — love it on April 2!

Playing for Keeps by Jennifer Dugan

The umpire and the pitcher, it’s a forbidden love story.

In this brand-new young adult sapphic romance by Jennifer Dugan, two girls fall in love while playing baseball. June is a talented pitcher who hopes to get a college scholarship, but she struggles with an injury that could ruin her career. Ivy is a passionate umpire who dreams of officiating at the professional level, but she faces resistance from her parents, who want her to pursue a different path and go to college. When they meet on the field, they clash at first but soon develop a friendship — and then a blossoming romance. Their forbidden relationship is threatened by the rules that prohibit players and umpires from dating — and a rival who is all too willing to expose them.

Background of a grassy playing field at dusk, and the street lamps are on. Laying on the ground next to each other, resting on their elbows, are two teenage girls. The girl on the right has long golden brown hair in a high ponytail, with loose bangs flowing down around her face. She is wearing a baseball player's uniform. Her baseball glove and ball are on the ground next to her. The girl on the left has shoulder-length wavy blonde hair. She is wearing  a black tshirt with a gold necklace. They are looking at each other intimately. Across the top of the cover, written in the sky, is the title: Playing for Keeps. In smaller white lettering to the lower right of the title is a quote by Rachael Lippincott, the coauthor of She Gets the Girl, that says, "Swoony and romantic." Along the bottom of the cover in white lettering are the words: Author of Some Girls Do, Jennifer Dugan.

Play the field and pre-order Playing for Keeps soon — they step up to the bat on April 30.

Sunday Money: A Novel by Maggie Hill

She needs to hustle on and off the court if she wants to make it out of Brooklyn.

Sunday Money is a historical fiction book that follows the life of Claire Joyce, a teenage girl in 1970s Brooklyn who loves basketball. There are many challenges at home and school that Claire faces, but she finds hope and passion in a sport that is undergoing a major transformation due to the new Title IX law that grants equal access to sports funding for girls. Claire dreams of getting a college scholarship and escaping her troubled family. Still, she also has to deal with the changing rules, expectations, and opportunities in the world of girls’ basketball. This is a coming-of-age story that explores topics of gender, class, race, and family in a turbulent era of American sports history.

A vintage style book cover showing a background of a public inner-city basketball court. There is a man and a woman on the court, though their details are obscured. The woman figure is making a free throw. The man figure is standing off to the side halfway down the court, holding another ball under one arm. Across the top in big bold lettering is the title: Sunday Money. Smaller black lettering below that, center of the cover, that says A Novel. In the bottom right corner of the cover is the name of the Author, Maggie Hill, and a quote by Kirkus Reviews that says, "Hill captures a watershed moment in the history of sports in a way that highlights how transformative athletics can be.."

Step up and pre-order Maggie Hill’s debut novel now — the ball is in your court on May 14!

Spring into Sports for Young Adults!

As spring blossoms forth, so does new young adult sports fiction, each book promising a heartwarming journey for young readers. You are invited into worlds of forbidden love and athletic passion, to take a plunge into the depths of resilience and aquatic dreams, to celebrate physical and emotional strength as your favorite characters strive for victory, and to be in the arena as it becomes a battleground for secrets and rivalries.

Support brand-new authors as their debut novels deftly weave sports with mystery or serve up romance on the court — where hearts collide, and passions always ignite — leaving readers guessing until the final whistle. These brand-new titles promise unforgettable memories and the thrill of victory. Pre-order them now and enjoy a whole spring season full of triumphs!

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