Like everyone else, I’m already missing A League of Their Own, aka possibly my new favorite show of all time. Luckily, there are plenty of reading options to get us through the drought until season 2. Read on for eight suggestions perfect for fans of A League of Their Own.
Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler
After their quarterback’s tragic death, no one at Atherton wants to see newcomer Jack Walsh replace him. Things get even worse when they realize Jack is actually a girl. The cheerleaders, led by captain Amber McCloud, vow to take her down. But as the two girls get to know each other, it’s clear there’s something more than just rivalry between them.
Home Field Advantage features everything you could want in a YA sports romance. Like A League of Their Own, it’s full of queer woman breaking boundaries despite the odds being stacked against them. This book is heavy at times, but the sweet romance and likable characters balance that out with ease.
Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman
Each of the thirteen stories in Megan Mayhew Bergman’s second collection feature unusual and independent women finally getting the spotlight they deserve. Bergman covers all types of women, from the gender nonconforming speed boat racer and heiress Joe Carstairs to the first integrated, all-girls swing band. While this collection is technically historical fiction, it’s a great jumping-off point if you want to learn about some of the women history forgot.
The Resisters by Gish Jen
In the not-so-distant future, AutoAmerica is half underwater and its people are divided. The Netted live on the literal high ground, while the Surplus, mostly people of color, are lucky to have a piece of swampland. From a young age it’s clear that Gwen, a surplus, has a powerful arm. She can hit any target with a baseball and plays in an underground league as a teenager. When AutoAmerica re-enters the Olympics to beat ChinRussia, they pay Gwen to join their team – even as her lawyer mother is hard at work on a case challenging the AutoAmerican Way.
While A League of Their Own fans may not immediately reach for a dystopian novel, The Resisters is still a great choice. After all, Gwen just wants to play ball in a society oppressed by capitalism, war and the patriarchy, just like the women of the AAGPBL.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
America in the 1950s isn’t a safe place for two girls to fall in love. While San Francisco is more welcoming than most places, that isn’t the case in Chinatown during the Red Scare. Amid fears of her family’s deportation, academic struggles and the threat of war, 17-year-old Lily Hu falls for Kath Miller and learns what love can really mean.
I can honestly say that Last Night at the Telegraph is a life-changing book. It’s a story of first love and found lesbian family perfect for fans of A League of Their Own. Best of all, Malinda Lo has a companion novel, A Scatter of Light, coming out this October for those who couldn’t get enough!
Brace for Impact by Gabe Montesanti
As a queer competitive swimmer in a conservative Midwestern town, Gabe Montesanti never felt like she fit in. When she goes to grad school in St. Louis however, she immediately falls in love with roller derby. For the first time, she has a community in this rough, intense group that embraces everyone. But when a catastrophic industry forces her to slow down, Gabe must reconcile the physicality of derby with her unresolved childhood trauma.
At its core, this unflinchingly honest memoir is a story about a young woman desperately trying to find people she can call family. Check out Brace for Impact if you enjoy reading about healing through community.
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is a poignant collection about the conflicts Black women face between church, love and sexuality. The nine stories follow four generations of women and girls caught between the church’s double standards and their own needs and desires. These characters want to own their sexuality and passion; they have to work hard to be considered “good girls” by their families and peers. They are seductive and vulnerable and all fully, messily human.
Catch and Cradle by Katia Rose
Lacrosse means everything to Becca Moore, which is why she swore off dating teammates after her messy first year on the UNS women’s team. Now that she’s captain, she enforces a strict no-dating rule among the players. Hope Hastings, however, has spent the last two years fighting against her major feelings for Becca. With the team’s friendship and a title on the line, Becca and Hope get closer to breaking the very rules put in place to get them to the championship.
Like A League of Their Own, Catch and Cradle has enough sports talk to satisfy fans, but not so much that it will bore readers who are more interested in the romance. This book has all the angsty yearning between teammates you could ask for.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
Jordan Baker has always slipped in and out of people’s lives and homes. She may be wealthy and a talented athlete, but she’s also queer, Asian and adopted. She wiles away the days with her friend Daisy Buchanan and attends parties at the Gatsby mansion, all while figuring out her place in 1920s New York.
Like the women of A League of Their Own, Jordan must hide who she is while wishing she could truly be herself. However, she knows the danger she’d be in if people in power found out her secrets. Nghi Vo’s The Chosen and the Beautiful touches on queerness, racism and immigration in ways The Great Gatsby never could, and it’s gorgeously written and unapologetically queer.
There you have it! Eight books perfect to fill the time while we wait for news about more episodes of A League of Their Own. Which of these books have you read so far, and which are you going to check out? Let us know below!
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