Is it just me or are sports sort of lacking in YA these days? Maybe I'm wrong - maybe there are a ton of sports stories and I just haven't heard of them, or maybe I just don't naturally gravitate toward sports, but it seems rare to me to have a heroine who's a hard-core athlete. That's why I love the idea of the "'Pretty Tough" series, which has been taken over by Keri Mikulski. Her first book for the series, HEAD GAMES (Penguin/Razorbill), launched earlier this month.
Here's a bit about "Pretty Tough," from their website.
YA fiction that kicks grass.
Breaking barriers, fighting the good fight; that’s why as little girls we were told we could do anything boys could do, and likely do it better. Well here’s to all the girls (and women) who are busting stereotypes – those who prove every day they’re “Pretty Tough.”
Today girls surf 20 foot waves, dunk basketballs, do huge airs on vert ramps, beat guys on the motor track, and more.
Pretty Tough has been established as a voice for girls who kick butt on and off the field, the track, the slopes and elsewhere. We want to draw attention to the strengths girls possess and inspire them to feel beautiful because of their incredible abilities. We make strength and courage attractive and accessible to all girls – competitors, spectators, fans or simply those looking to get involved. Whether you’re looking for information or inspiration, you’ll find it here.
And here's the blurb from the back cover of HEAD GAMES, plus some quotes from people who've already read and loved the book:
Taylor is calm, cool, collected, and ferocious on the basketball court. A total all-star. Not so much in real life. She may be tall, gorgeous, and an incredible catch, but just try telling her that!
And lately, Taylor doesn't know which way to turn: The summer showcase game is almost here. Her BFF Hannah roped her into a fashion show (eek!). And she can't decide between Zach - the super-popular, super-tall, super-off-limits basketball dynamo and Matt - the sweet boy from her math class (who may just be dating her BFF's older sister). It's enough to make any girl's head spin!
Can Taylor strike a pose, land the boy of her dreams, and win the game?
“HEAD GAMES is hilarious-- Finally a humorous, romantic, fun book for girls who live to play sports!”
– Cyn Balog, Author of Fairy Tale and Sleepless
“The author did a wonderful job of making me feel as if I was walking the halls of Beachwood Academy, following Taylor Thomas as she deals with friends, boys, and basketball. The dialogue is authentic; the story fun. The perfect novel for teen girls, and any reader who wants to understand the psyche of high school female athlete!”
- Alfred Martino, Author of Pinned
“A sweet …… story.”
- Kirkus Review
“I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book! I started reading, and I ended up reading Head Games in one sitting. The story was so fun and the characters were so easy to connect with. I felt like this book could take place anywhere, I could definitely see it happening in my high school on any given day.”
- Erica, YA Books Central
“Flirty and entertaining, Head Games blends teenage drama with sports in an enjoyable way. With a likable protagonist, an easy transition between high school, basketball and home life scenes, and some hottie boys thrown in the mix, this is a feel good read.”
- Kari, The Book Addiction
Sounds pretty cool, huh? Keri was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book, and share the trailer with us. Check it out!
Q. How did you end up taking over the Pretty Tough series?
A. About three years ago, I began writing web articles for Pretty Tough. The brand read Screwball (my first book), asked me if I had written any other sporty books, and requested to read my work in progress. At the time, I was working on FULL COURT PRESS (which is now HEAD GAMES). I sent Pretty Tough FULL COURT PRESS and they loved it! Immediately, Pretty Tough asked me if I would be interested in writing novels for the brand. Since I absolutely adored the first two novels (written by the amazing Liz Tigelaar, executive producer of Life Interrupted), I accepted the offer and we began the process of attempting to sell the series again with HEAD GAMES through my agent.
Q. Did you play sports in high school?
A. Yes! :) I LOVE sports. I played basketball, softball, and soccer, earned ten varsity letters as a senior, and served as captain to all three sports.
Q. Why do you write sports fiction?
A. Writing sports fiction for girls is my passion. I was a reluctant reader and lost interest in books in middle school and high school because I could never find an athletic protagonist that I related to. After I became a teacher myself, I watched so many of my athletic students morph into reluctant readers because of the same reason. I began writing and strived to create the sports novels that my students and I always wanted to read. And here I am.. Living my dream. :)
Thanks, Keri! Here's that trailer!