In order to celebrate National Punch Day, here are five Young Adult reads that have to do with combative sports. We picked a selection that has a range of different sports that pack a punch and encourage you to fight back for your protection and self.
1. The Knockout – Sajni Patel
Seventeen-year-old Kareena Thakkar alienates herself from her Indian community. When she lands a once-in-a-lifetime invite to the US Muay Thai Open, there is a potential spot to be on the Olympic Team. Her sport is considered ‘rough’ for girls and she can’t share it with anyone outside of her family. She excels in academics and wants to help her parents be debt free. But with constantly training, she seems to believe she isn’t Indian enough.
In a battle of insecurities, facing parental expectations, and figuring out her feelings for the ‘perfect Indian’, Amit Patel, she must focus on fighting if she has the courage to make her dreams a reality.
2. Bruised – Sarah Skilton
Imogen believes her blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do, makes her into the strong, responsible and capable person she is now. But an incident at a diner has her frozen on the spot. A gunman is shot and killed by police, and it’s her fault. In order to rebuild her life, she needs to prove herself in a real fight. Drawn to Ricky, a witness to the incident, he could be a way to a fight she desperately needs. But she will learn the true meaning of strength.
3. Gypsy Girl – Kathryn James
Sammy Jo has a secret and it’s how she pays for her sister’s wedding. But her plans fall apart when in a fight with thugs to save rich boy Gregory. Now local bad guy McCloud is after her. She may be resilient, fast, and tough as nails, but Sammy has met her match.
But now she has to watch out for danger, including the dangers of her own heart.
4. Brawler – Neil Connelly
A runaway boy, a new career, a hard-to-read future.
Eddie Maclnytyre, also known as Mac to friends. He is a Pennsylvania wrestler pro. With scholarship offers to help his mom and him have a better life, a state championship match breaks it. Instead of having a wrestling career, he is now escaping a terrible mistake. When his rage leads to an assault on a referee, he loses everything. He runs to another town and is taken in by a shady promoter who recruits him to Brawlers.
A Brawler is a no-rules illegal underground fight.
With a new ally Khajee, a girl who can fight teaches him ropes on how to survive in this place. They both must face the ring and this new place, and hopefully live a better future.
5. Fence – C.S. Pacat
If you want an amazing queer series with fighting then start with the first volume.
Nicholas is the illegitimate son of a retired fence champion. He has been training since he was young and wants to compete one day. When he gets accepted to Kings Row Private School, he realizes the cut-throat expectations.
He will soon face the golden boy half brother, and a mysterious undefeated fencer named Seiji Katayama. With rivalry, the romance between mates, and drama; Nicholas and the boys learn there is more than just fencing.
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