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The Game of Life: Sports Fiction for Teens


Baseball
Deuker, Carl. Heart of a Champion. - Libraries: Mahon, Godeke, Groves
Seth faces a strain on his friendship with Jimmy, who is both a baseball champion and something of an irresponsible fool, when Jimmy is kicked off the team.

Deuker, Carl. High Heat. - Libraries: Mahon, Godeke, Groves
When high school sophomore Shane Hunter's father is arrested for money laundering at his Lexus dealership, the young star pitcher's life of privilege begins to fall apart.

Deuker, Carl. Painting the Black. - Library: Mahon
Ryan and Josh are connected; only Ryan can catch what star pitcher Josh throws. But when Josh starts pushing other limits, Ryan must decide for himself where to stop.

Koertge, Ron. Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. - Libraries: Mahon, Groves
When a fourteen-year-old baseball player catches mononucleosis, he discovers that keeping a journal and experimenting with poetry not only helps fill the time, it also helps him deal with life, love, and loss.

Lynch, Chris. Gold Dust. - Library: Godeke
In 1975, 12-year-old Richard befriends Napolean, a Caribbean newcomer to his Catholic school, hoping that Napolean will learn to love baseball and the Red Sox, and will win acceptance in the racially polarized Boston school.

Peck, Robert Newton. Extra Innings. - Library: Godeke
After a tragic airplane crash that claims the lives of most of his family, sixteen-year-old Tate goes to live with his wealthy great-grandfather and his adopted black great-aunt Vidalia and he finds unexpected solace in the stories of her childhood spent travelling with a Depression-era Negro baseball team.

Weaver, Will. Striking Out. - Libraries: Groves, Patterson
Since the death of his older brother, thirteen-year-old Billy Baggs has had a distant relationship with his father, but life on their farm in northern Minnesota begins to change when he starts to play baseball.

Basketball
Deuker, Carl. On the Devil's Court. - Library: Mahon
Struggling with his feelings of inadequacy and his failure to make the basketball team in his new school, seventeen-year-old Joe Faust finds himself willing to trade his soul for one perfect season of basketball.

Deuker, Carl. Night Hoops. - Library: Godeke
While trying to prove that he is good enough to play on his high school's varsity basketball team, Nick must also deal with his parents' divorce.

Klass, David. Danger Zone. - Library: Groves
Jimmy, a star high school basketball player in Minnesota, is chosen for a national Teen Dream Team that travels to a Rome Tournament.

Boxing

Cadnum, Michael. Redhanded. - Library: Godeke
Since he cannot depend on his father, Stephen feels as though his only chance to make it to the big boxing tournament is to go along with the dangerous plan of a local tough guy to whom he has been introduced by a thrill-seeking friend.

Karr, Kathleen. The Boxer. - Library: Godeke
Having learned how to box while in prison, fifteen-year-old Johnny sets out to discover if he can make a decent living as a fighter in late nineteenth-century New York City.

Lipsyte, Robert. The Contender. - Libraries: Mahon, Patterson
A Harlem high school dropout escapes from a gang of punks into a boxing gym, where he learns that being a contender is hard and often discouraging work, but that you don't know anything until you try.

Lipsyte, Robert. Warrior Angel. - Library: Mahon
Native American boxer of the Moscondaga Nation, Sonny Bear must fight to retain his heavyweight championship title.

Lynch, Chris. Shadow Boxer. - Library: Patterson
After their father dies of boxing injuries, George is determined to prevent his younger brother, who sees boxing as his legacy, from pursuing a career in the sport.

Zusak, Marcus. Fighting Ruben Wolfe. - Library: Groves
Partly because of their family's poor finances and partly to prove themselves, brothers Ruben and Cameron take jobs as fighters and find themselves reacting very differently in the boxing ring.

Diving
Doherty, Berlie. The Snake-Stone. - Libraries: Mahon, Groves
While searching for his birthmother, fifteen-year-old James, a championship diver, discovers who his real parents are and where his real home is.

Football
Jenkins, A. M. Damage. - Libraries: Godeke, Groves
Seventeen-year-old football hero Austin, trying to understand the inexplicable depression that has drained his interest in life, thinks that he has found relief in a girl who seems very special.

Powell, Randy. Three Clams and an Oyster. - Libraries: Godeke, Groves
During their humorous search to find a fourth player for their flag football team, three high school juniors are forced to examine their long friendship, their individual flaws, and their inability to try new experiences.

Running/Track
Fogelin, Adrian. Crossing Jordan. - Library: Godeke
Twelve-year-old Cass meets her new African-American neighbor, Jemmie, and despite their families' prejudices, they build a strong friendship around their mutual talent for running and a pact to read Jane Eyre.

Frank, Hilary. Better than Running at Night. - Libraries: Mahon, Godeke, Groves
A freshman art student from Manhattan spends her first year away from home in New England.

McCafferty, Megan. Sloppy Firsts. - Library: Groves
When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyper-observant 16-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. She turns to late night running to ease her angst. See also the sequel, Second Helpings. Gr

Soccer
Bloor, Edward. Tangerine. - Libraries: Mahon, Godeke, Groves
Tangerine is a town where lightning can start underground fires, sports are more important than the truth, and soccer player Paul must discover what role his brother played in the mysterious loss of his sight.

Klass, David. Home of the Braves. - Library: Mahon
Eighteen-year-old Joe, captain of the soccer team, is dismayed when a hotshot player shows up from Brazil and threatens to take over both the team and the girl whom Joe hopes to date.

Swimming
Crutcher, Chris. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. - Libraries: Mahon, Groves
The daily class discussions about the nature of man, the existence of God, abortion, organized religion, suicide and other contemporary issues serve as a backdrop for a high school senior's attempt to answer a friend's dramatic cry for help.

Crutcher, Chris. Stotan. - Library: Groves
A high school coach invites members of his swimming team to a memorable week of rigorous training that tests their moral fiber as well as their physical stamina.

Crutcher, Chris. Whale Talk. - Library: Groves
Intellectually and athletically gifted, TJ, a multiracial, adopted teenager, shuns organized sports and the gung-ho athletes at his high school until he agrees to form a swimming team and recruits some of the school's less popular students.

Duder, Tessa. In Lane Three, Alex Archer. - Libraries: Mahon, Godeke
Fifteen-year-old Alex struggles to overcome personal trauma and hardship as she competes with her arch rival for a place on the New Zealand swimming team participating in the 1960 Olympic Games.

Triathlon
Crutcher, Chris. Ironman. - Library: Groves
Banished to his high school’s anger management class, Bo discovers he has more in common with the "member felons" than he realizes.

Wrestling
Connelly, Neil O. St. Michael's Scales. - Library: Godeke
Keegan Flannery, feeling responsible for his twin brother's death and his mother's mental illness, believes he must atone by committing suicide before his sixteenth birthday, but he gains new insights when he joins his school's wrestling team.

Wallace, Rich. Wrestling Sturbridge. - Libraries: Mahon, Godeke, Groves
Stuck in a small town where no one ever leaves and relegated by his wrestling coach to sit on the bench while his best friend becomes state champion, Ben decides he can't let his last high school wrestling season slip by without challenging his friend and the future.

General
Lynch, Chris. Slot Machine. - Libraries: Mahon, Groves
When overweight thirteen-year-old Elvin Bishop is sent to camp at St. Paul's Seminary Retreat Center, he and his two best friends are forced to try out various sports in order to find out where they belong.

Ultimate Sports: Short stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults.
Library: Mahon
A collection of sixteen short stories about teenage athletes written by well-known authors in the field, including award-winning novelists Robert Lipsyte and Chris Crutcher.