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Like Other Girls

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"What if I played football?" I ask. As soon as it's out of my mouth, I feel stupid. Even suggesting it feels like I've overstepped some kind of invisible line we've all agreed not to discuss. We don't talk about how Mara is different from other girls. We don't talk about how Mara is gay but no one says so. But when I do stuff like this, I worry it gets harder for us all to "What if I played football?" I ask. As soon as it's out of my mouth, I feel stupid. Even suggesting it feels like I've overstepped some kind of invisible line we've all agreed not to discuss. We don't talk about how Mara is different from other girls. We don't talk about how Mara is gay but no one says so. But when I do stuff like this, I worry it gets harder for us all to ignore what's right in front of us. I direct my gaze to Quinn. "What do you think?" "I think it's frickin' genius," he says. After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight that was absolutely totally not her fault (okay maybe a little her fault), Mara is dying to find a new sport to play to prove to her coach that she can be a team player. A lifelong football fan, Mara decides to hit the gridiron with her brother, Noah, and best friend, Quinn-and she turns out to be a natural. But joining the team sets off a chain of events in her small Oregon town-and within her family-that she never could have predicted. Inspired by what they see as Mara's political statement, four other girls join the team. Now Mara's lumped in as one of the girls-one of the girls who can't throw, can't kick, and doesn't know a fullback from a linebacker. Complicating matters is the fact that Valentina, Mara's crush, is one of the new players, as is Carly, Mara's nemesis-the girl Mara fought with when she was kicked off the basketball team. What results is a coming-of-age story that is at once tear-jerking and funny, thought-provoking and real, as Mara's preconceived notions about gender, sports, sexuality, and friendship are turned upside down. Britta Lundin's sophomore novel will give readers all the feels, and make them stand up and cheer.


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"What if I played football?" I ask. As soon as it's out of my mouth, I feel stupid. Even suggesting it feels like I've overstepped some kind of invisible line we've all agreed not to discuss. We don't talk about how Mara is different from other girls. We don't talk about how Mara is gay but no one says so. But when I do stuff like this, I worry it gets harder for us all to "What if I played football?" I ask. As soon as it's out of my mouth, I feel stupid. Even suggesting it feels like I've overstepped some kind of invisible line we've all agreed not to discuss. We don't talk about how Mara is different from other girls. We don't talk about how Mara is gay but no one says so. But when I do stuff like this, I worry it gets harder for us all to ignore what's right in front of us. I direct my gaze to Quinn. "What do you think?" "I think it's frickin' genius," he says. After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight that was absolutely totally not her fault (okay maybe a little her fault), Mara is dying to find a new sport to play to prove to her coach that she can be a team player. A lifelong football fan, Mara decides to hit the gridiron with her brother, Noah, and best friend, Quinn-and she turns out to be a natural. But joining the team sets off a chain of events in her small Oregon town-and within her family-that she never could have predicted. Inspired by what they see as Mara's political statement, four other girls join the team. Now Mara's lumped in as one of the girls-one of the girls who can't throw, can't kick, and doesn't know a fullback from a linebacker. Complicating matters is the fact that Valentina, Mara's crush, is one of the new players, as is Carly, Mara's nemesis-the girl Mara fought with when she was kicked off the basketball team. What results is a coming-of-age story that is at once tear-jerking and funny, thought-provoking and real, as Mara's preconceived notions about gender, sports, sexuality, and friendship are turned upside down. Britta Lundin's sophomore novel will give readers all the feels, and make them stand up and cheer.

30 review for Like Other Girls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    4.50 Stars. I loved this! I had high hopes for this book but it was even better than I had hoped. I’m actually surprised that it’s not getting more of that YA hype and that more people aren’t taking about it. Hopefully, that will change when this releases in a few days because it deserves its readership. While I’m 39 and loved this, had I read a book like this when I was a teenager, it would have meant the world. I hope librarians will pick this up for high school aged kids. I was really impress 4.50 Stars. I loved this! I had high hopes for this book but it was even better than I had hoped. I’m actually surprised that it’s not getting more of that YA hype and that more people aren’t taking about it. Hopefully, that will change when this releases in a few days because it deserves its readership. While I’m 39 and loved this, had I read a book like this when I was a teenager, it would have meant the world. I hope librarians will pick this up for high school aged kids. I was really impressed with the readability and good flow of this book. I couldn’t sleep last night –was anxious about the USA/NED women’s soccer game- so I thought I would read a little to get my mind off things and hopefully relax before sleeping. That was a bad decision on my part since I could not put the book down until it was finished. This is a book that easily gets its hooks into you. And while it is not without flaws, Lundin sure can write. I’m a big fan of angsty YA books that play with your emotions. This book is the perfect example of that. I was frustrated, angry, and had to reach for the tissues multiple times, but there were heartfelt moments, and sweet moments that just put a smile on my face. I loved the rollercoaster of emotions you go through as a reader. Not only was this the kind of YA read that I love, this was also a sports book! I love a good sports read and this book had more football in it than I expected. The football scenes were gripping and exciting and this is one of the better YA sports books I’ve read. While a book about a teenager who chooses to hide her sexuality in a small religious town is not a new idea, there was a bit of a twist to this storyline. While I hate labels, Mara is really a baby butch. It’s a struggle for her wanting to be comfortable in her own skin as a masculine presenting young woman, but when you are in the closet that’s not an easy step to take. While of course not all masculine presenting women are gay, many people just assume the stereotype is true so to watch this struggle for Mara, and her mother especially, was really well done. I do want to mention some triggers for homophobia, major sexism, and forced/unwanted touching and kissing. I do have to say that this leads to the one part that bothered me. A character is assaulted and the way they adults act, that she confides in, really pissed me off. I understand a little bit about one of the adults as she was in a tough position and was one of the few decent adults in the book, but the adult educator that was told just made me want to scream. I thought her reaction was a little too unrealistic for being in the Me Too era, but whatever. It really was my only main complaint in the book. While there were plenty of parts that made me angry –due to some nasty characters- there were some great female friendships and a super sweet romance. The romance was light, this is more a book about sexism, finding oneself, and football, but I was happy with it anyway. I felt like the romance was just what the book needed to balance out some of the tears and anger you will have as a reader. Plus the pairing is really adorable. This was an excellent read. I believe it will easily make my list of favorite books of the year since I enjoyed it so much. If you are a YA fan, this is a must. If you are a sports fan, this is also a must read. Even if you are not the biggest YA fan, but love sports books, I would highly encourage you to give this a chance. I hope this book gets the attention it deserves and I can’t wait to read what Lundin writes next. An ARC was given to me for a review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    So I've been a little MIA from goodreads again, and I apologize for that. I went on vacation, and while I was gone I managed to break my kindle. So not a lot of reading got done. But while all that was happening I managed to listen to the audiobook of Like Other Girls and I really enjoyed it! Football is easily my favorite sport. I like most major sports but I do follow professional and college football more closely. Despite a lot of iffy ethics and health concerns regarding it- I just really en So I've been a little MIA from goodreads again, and I apologize for that. I went on vacation, and while I was gone I managed to break my kindle. So not a lot of reading got done. But while all that was happening I managed to listen to the audiobook of Like Other Girls and I really enjoyed it! Football is easily my favorite sport. I like most major sports but I do follow professional and college football more closely. Despite a lot of iffy ethics and health concerns regarding it- I just really enjoy it. And while sports themed books in lesfic aren't exactly rare, there aren't a lot of queer fiction books that have football as the centerpiece. The only other one I can remember is Romancing the Kicker which was pretty good too. So I was very excited for this book. This book follows Mara, who after getting kicked off her school's basketball team for fighting, is told she needs to join a team sport and keep clean the whole fall semester to be able to rejoin. So instead of a more feminine sport she opts for Football. And her joining inspires other girls at the school to join the team too, which raises all sorts of complications as Mara just wants to fit in- not stand out. I was super in to this book and wanted more and more of the story. Mara is a really nuanced character. She is clearly flawed. She has anger issues (from the premise of the book) and has a lot of preconceived ideas about girls and femininity that perhaps border on misogynistic. But also she has a really strong heart and is extremely loyal to the people who matter to her. And that's what makes watching her overcome and change her perspective on her issues all the better. I'd probably classify Mara as a baby butch type with how she sees and holds herself. Yet due to societal and familial pressure she often finds herself presenting more feminine than she would like too. Her mother often forces her to wear dresses and makeup even though Mara hates them. I found this internal struggle really powerful and relatable as a transwoman too, if the exact opposite experience. Her feelings were really strong and I sympathized with that a lot- and I appreciate how her perspective was given in those moments. The side characters were all fantastic. I loved the group of girls that join the football team and how their ragtag friendship all started because of it. I love stories about found family and friends and all four characters had such distinct personalities they didn't blend together at all. I also really liked Mara's brother Noah as a character. He had a surprising amount of depth to his personality even if he seems very flat initially. This book has a lot of complicated characters and handles them well. The football was also a lot of fun in the book! I really enjoyed how the events were described taking place and being in Mara's head as she was making split second decisions was very fun. I also did enjoy the romance arc. It was kinda predictable from a mile away what was going to eventually happen but it was super cute nonetheless. The thing I didn't really love about this book was about how the final conflict was handled, but mostly the events that lead up to it. It all just made me extremely uncomfortable with how literally everyone handled it. I won't go into details because spoilers, but for content warning purposes, it does involve forced unwanted touching and sexual harassments. I really did enjoy this book and the characters in it. This is my first book by Lundin but I doubt it will be my last. 4.25/5

  3. 4 out of 5

    XR

    Mara's character arc was brilliantly written. I was seriously annoyed at her selfishness… but had to remind myself she's just a kid with immature attitude. Watching her change, better her attitude, and open her eyes to the others around her was a sweet lesson learned. Mara's character arc was brilliantly written. I was seriously annoyed at her selfishness… but had to remind myself she's just a kid with immature attitude. Watching her change, better her attitude, and open her eyes to the others around her was a sweet lesson learned.

  4. 4 out of 5

    R

    Mara, 16, loved to play basketball but after a fighting incident during the game she was thrown off the team. In order to prove herself, her coach told her she needed to join another team sport to demonstrate she can play and not get into any fights. Her coach set it up for Mara to play volleyball. But Mara didn’t fit in with the other girls and their dress code. She wanted to play football with her brother and best friend. Since there wasn’t any girl football team at her high school, she joined Mara, 16, loved to play basketball but after a fighting incident during the game she was thrown off the team. In order to prove herself, her coach told her she needed to join another team sport to demonstrate she can play and not get into any fights. Her coach set it up for Mara to play volleyball. But Mara didn’t fit in with the other girls and their dress code. She wanted to play football with her brother and best friend. Since there wasn’t any girl football team at her high school, she joined the boys team as per the Title IX federal law. I loved how this story developed and the struggles Mara went through, not only in terms of sports, but within herself and her family’s acceptance of this change. Mara’s mom still wanted to hold on to that image of her young daughter wearing dresses. But Mara was no longer that person and didn’t want to be. Her mother, however, forced her to conform to her wishes by wearing dresses, heels, and lipstick to church in order for her to continue playing football. Mara’s discomfort was obvious but her mother seemed to ignore it. Over time, this struggle became too much for Mara and drastic changes took place. These scenes between mother and daughter were very emotional. Mara just wanted to be seen, and especially loved, for who she was. The secondary characters were very diverse and added a realistic feel to the school and sports setting. Mara and the other four females who joined the team,including her crush, faced much adversity by their teammates who were threatened by their very presence. They also had to contend with the not so innocent pranks directed their way by a select group of sexist teammates. There was also a scene of unwanted kisses and touches by one of the players. The girls were constantly harassed in the hopes that they would quit the team. But they persevered. I liked everything about this story because it was very engaging and realistically written. Despite everything that was thrown at these girls, they stood strong. But most importantly, they stood together. I would definitely recommend this book for high school students. There were many topics within this storyline that would be great for classroom discussions. An ARC was given for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    MaxDisaster

    4 stars I liked Mara, I didn't mind the rest of the girls and I tolerated Carly (she meant well, but she kinda tended to steamroll everyone and everything). The novel was comprehensive, well written and introduced me to the specifics of American football (I'm still not sure if it was a good thing or not). I had, however, some issues with it. Standard issue: I have ongoing problems with American high school novels: as a person from a mostly atheistic part of central Europe I still can't comprehend t 4 stars I liked Mara, I didn't mind the rest of the girls and I tolerated Carly (she meant well, but she kinda tended to steamroll everyone and everything). The novel was comprehensive, well written and introduced me to the specifics of American football (I'm still not sure if it was a good thing or not). I had, however, some issues with it. Standard issue: I have ongoing problems with American high school novels: as a person from a mostly atheistic part of central Europe I still can't comprehend the American tendency to glorify American football (and other school-level sports), care about the church their neighbours go to and generally the obsession with traditional family values (my country might not be the apex of gay rights, but at least everyone who's against them can't hide behind religion or tradition, the Soviet Union blasted those "traditional values" to pieces long before I was born). So half of the struggles Mara faces are completely alien to me and although I've read about American high-school experiences enough to understand what's going on, it still feels kinda weird and stupid. Non-standard issue: I was the only girl on a high school all-male basketball team and no one cared. Like at all. Even though some of my teammates were typical slightly chauvinistic alpha-male teenagers who thought they're the god's gift to the world. And I had waist-length hair back then, so it was obvious as hell that I was female. So Mara's teammates reactions to girls on the team were...kinda incomprehensible. Not that they tried it, teenagers are stupid it was to be expected, but that they got away with it. But that probably circles back to the aforementioned traditional values and love of school sports. I feel obliged to point out that those issues have nothing to do with the author's abilities and everything to do with cultural differences. The only thing I didn't like was when Carly, who was supposed to be one of the good ones, threatened to sue for discrimination if she wouldn't be allowed to play football. On one hand I can understand where she was coming from, on the other hand, the tryouts were over, so it was not question of discrimination but a question of ignoring deadlines. If the coach refused her during tryouts? Ok, that could have been discrimination. But a week later? I don't know. That just sounded like blackmail without a just cause. She simply didn't tryout on time, so the argument that she couldn't play because the coach was discriminating against her...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    There's a lot to love about this, especially if you're a fan of character growth. It's an honest, nuanced exploration of internalized misogyny from the perspective of a teen butch lesbian, who's grappling with what gender identity means to her and how she can be butch but still respect and appreciate femininity in others. It's also a great addition to the existing range of queer sports books, especially because there's such a big focus on sports in the book as opposed to more romance-driven stori There's a lot to love about this, especially if you're a fan of character growth. It's an honest, nuanced exploration of internalized misogyny from the perspective of a teen butch lesbian, who's grappling with what gender identity means to her and how she can be butch but still respect and appreciate femininity in others. It's also a great addition to the existing range of queer sports books, especially because there's such a big focus on sports in the book as opposed to more romance-driven stories. Which is not to say there isn't a romance, but it doesn't take the front seat. In terms of the romance, I would have liked to see more acknowledgment of the intersection of the love interest's queer Asian identity, which is mentioned but never addressed in a meaningful way. I especially didn't like the way the main character, a white girl, saw her as her nemesis before, literally calling her arrogant and aggressive when she was clearly neither. This felt racist to me (although keep in mind I'm a white person so my opinion doesn't hold much weight). I would also have liked to see more of a resolution in terms of the main character's mother, who's very unsupportive and queerphobic, but I also realize that sometimes it just is that way and isn't ever going to change. One thing I really liked is that, where most queer YA set in a rural environment has a main character who really wants to get away, this book has a main character who realizes she loves where she lives and she wants this place to make a space for her.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maia

    Mara is a strong-tempered, athletically gifted, closeted queer high schooler in the rural town of Elkhorn, Oregon. She was banned from the basketball team after she punched a teammate, and the only way to earn her way back into the coach's good graces is to successfully play another team sport for a season without getting into any fights. Everyone expects Mara to coast through a season of girl's volleyball, but instead she decides to try out of the all-boys football team. Her older brother Noah Mara is a strong-tempered, athletically gifted, closeted queer high schooler in the rural town of Elkhorn, Oregon. She was banned from the basketball team after she punched a teammate, and the only way to earn her way back into the coach's good graces is to successfully play another team sport for a season without getting into any fights. Everyone expects Mara to coast through a season of girl's volleyball, but instead she decides to try out of the all-boys football team. Her older brother Noah and her best friend Quinn already play football, so that means Mara will get to hang out with them and have a good time trying something challenging and new, right? No. Immediately, things begin to get complicated. Mara didn't feel like she was making a political statement, but then four other girls also decide to try out for team, Mara's mom gets upset at her, Noah's not sticking up for her on the field, and Quinn is being jealous and weird. Plus, one of the girls who decides to join football is Carly- the only out lesbian at Mara's school, and coincidentally, the girl who Mara punched. I LOVED this book. I devoured it in three days. It's so deeply rooted in place, the rural and small-town setting influencing all of the characters, the choices they feel they can make, the things they try to hide. The book features a mid-30s queer mentor who I deeply related to. All of the girls who join the team are very different from each other, and have distinct (and occasionally conflicting) motivations for signing up. Their growing friendship is one of the joys of the book. Each character feels true and real, and I left the book rooting for all of them. I hope there's a sequel on the way!

  8. 4 out of 5

    em

    4.5 oh my god, i related so much to some parts of this book. mara's mindset when she was younger, the things her mom said to her, the alienation that comes from being queer in a less progressive place, etc. i've never read a book that discusses internalised misogyny as well as this one, so i'm thankful for it. (view spoiler)[quotes i need to keep somewhere so i can send them to my friends later on lol “My mom will refer to people by their gender every chance she gets. It bugs the hell out of me.” 4.5 oh my god, i related so much to some parts of this book. mara's mindset when she was younger, the things her mom said to her, the alienation that comes from being queer in a less progressive place, etc. i've never read a book that discusses internalised misogyny as well as this one, so i'm thankful for it. (view spoiler)[quotes i need to keep somewhere so i can send them to my friends later on lol “My mom will refer to people by their gender every chance she gets. It bugs the hell out of me.” “It’s not being a girl that bothers me, it’s what everyone else assumes about me because of it. I just want to be a girl without everyone expecting me to be so... girlishish, you know?” “Who else knows about this?” Mom says. And there it is. Of course that’s what she cares about. “Well, everyone at practice, and presumably all their parents now.” Mom looks pale. Dad steps forward. “Mara, don’t be cruel to your mother.” “I’m being honest. It’s not my fault she cares more about what the church ladies think than my happiness.” “Mara...” Dad says with a warning tone. This is such bullshit.” “I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming. Mom needs me to be extra feminine to make up for the fact that everyone in town will be talking about “that Deeble girl on the football team.” The only way to counteract the whispers is some good old-fashioned traditional values. “I’ll go to youth group, but please, Mom, don’t make me wear the dress.” “Mara, you act like it’s medieval torture. It’s not the locks, it’s just a dress. Millions of women wear one every day.” “I know you don’t agree with what I’m doing. I know you don’t like my clothes, or my hair, or me playing football. If it were you, you’d do it all differently. But this is me, Mom. This is who I am. I’m your daughter. And this is what I look like.” “You’re confused...” “I’m not,” I say. “And it’s okay to be confused. We were all troubled as young people. You grow out of it.” “I’m not growing out of it, Mom. And I want you to love me for who I am right now.” (hide spoiler)]

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dahlia

    Enjoyed this so much. I can't recall another YA that takes internalized misogyny to task like this and really makes it the center of a book, and I particularly appreciate it in a queer YA. It's heavier on football and lighter on romance than I expected, though I am not complaining about that! Enjoyed this so much. I can't recall another YA that takes internalized misogyny to task like this and really makes it the center of a book, and I particularly appreciate it in a queer YA. It's heavier on football and lighter on romance than I expected, though I am not complaining about that!

  10. 4 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    Trigger Warning: misogyny, homophobia, forced kissing/touching, sexual harassment When Mara gets kicked off the basketball team for punching her own teammate (she was concussed, still not an excuse), she is told she has one chance to get on the basketball team next year: join a team sport in the fall, and don't get into any fights. It quickly becomes apparent that volleyball is not an option, so when Mara's best friend Quinn mentions the football team, Mara agrees. She just likes being one of the Trigger Warning: misogyny, homophobia, forced kissing/touching, sexual harassment When Mara gets kicked off the basketball team for punching her own teammate (she was concussed, still not an excuse), she is told she has one chance to get on the basketball team next year: join a team sport in the fall, and don't get into any fights. It quickly becomes apparent that volleyball is not an option, so when Mara's best friend Quinn mentions the football team, Mara agrees. She just likes being one of the guys anyway, she's tall, she can take a hit, and she's been playing ball with her brother and Quinn her entire life. But when four other girls—inspired by her badassery—join her, Mara is less than thrilled. Now she's one of the girls and making a political statement, when she just wants to play ball and get on the team. I really enjoyed this—to the point where I stayed up until an unheard-of (for me) on in the morning. At first, Mara was annoying as hell with her I'm NOT like other girls attitude, but thankfully that slowly changes as she gets her head out of her ass and starts seeing things for real. The other girls on the team were pretty fantastic, however I'm still upset by the adults, who all literally did nothing to help make things better and refused to help or see what was going on, but gave the boys multiple passes for their awful behavior. Unfortunately, when in a small (smallish, as there are apartment buildings and a hospital), conservative town, that's not unexpected. I did, however, really love Jupiter, who was the Miss Honey to Mara's sporty Matilda. Their relationship was fantastic, and I did feel relief when Jupiter addressed the parental approval and weirdness of a 35-year-old queer lady around a 16-year-old after midnight in a conservative town. I also liked the slow burn romance, and the way the book examined friendships and family relations. Mara slowly—so slowly—begins to realize that just because a girl is a girly girl, that doesn't mean she's not tough or can't hack it. It doesn't mean that she's not worthy of respect. And she also starts to see the true colors of her male friends, which had been before her the entire time and which she'd excused. Not to mention, she must navigate her relationship with her mom, who is a conservative, church-going woman who wants a daughter in her image and fears for her own reputation if people see Mara acting like a boy (her mom is not bad, per se, but it is heartbreaking how she refuses to understand or really accept Mara for who she is, and wants to change her into the "right" mold for being a girl). Anywho, I think what really drew me to this book was the setting. It's in rural Oregon, but I kept trying to place where in Oregon, since place names beside Portland weren't really used? However, there are the Cascades mentioned, and conservatives in cowboy hats and cattle/sheep farming, and it's close enough to kiiiiiina commute to Portland and she mentioned south of the Columbia (which is all of Oregon but people in the middle of state have other rivers they ping off of), so I dunno. But really, anywhere east enough of Portland fits the parameters. I just read Elkhorn and was like, wait a minute, do I know this author? and then she kept with the little clues and I was like nope, too far north. So that was a ramble. But, if you're looking for something like Dairy Queen and Moxie but make it super gay, this is the book for you. It's solid, not without its flaws, and has a character who really grows up in the pages to realize what is worth fighting for—and how to fight. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nev

    This was a great queer YA sports book that tackles internalized misogyny and homophobia in a small town. When Mara is kicked off her basketball team for fighting she has to prove to her coach that she can be a team player on another sports team to earn her spot back. So she decides to join the boy’s football team, and things are going pretty well until a group of girls decide to follow her lead and join as well. Mara hates that the guys see her as one of the silly, girly girls who can’t play. Th This was a great queer YA sports book that tackles internalized misogyny and homophobia in a small town. When Mara is kicked off her basketball team for fighting she has to prove to her coach that she can be a team player on another sports team to earn her spot back. So she decides to join the boy’s football team, and things are going pretty well until a group of girls decide to follow her lead and join as well. Mara hates that the guys see her as one of the silly, girly girls who can’t play. Throughout a lot of the book it is frustrating to read from Mara’s point of view because of how much she puts down other girls and how she thinks she’s better for being “not like other girls.” It was rewarding to watch Mara’s journey to realizing that the things she’s thinking and saying about other girls aren’t right. There are a lot of interesting character dynamics explored between Mara and her brother who doesn’t want her on the team, her best friend who is starting to leave her behind, an older butch rolemodel, and a girl she has a crush on. I do think that in the beginning of the story the girl who Mara fought with to get her kicked off the basketball team was portrayed in a pretty one dimensional way. She felt a bit like a caricature until much later on in the book. Also, near the end of the book the way that a coach reacts to something that happened to Mara felt a bit contrived. There are also some storylines that I wanted a bit more closure with, like Mara’s relationship with her mom. But overall I really liked this book, it’s a unique addition to the queer YA contemporary genre.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    Girls playing sports is always a subject that grabs me and a girl playing on the boy's football team is even better. I feel like the girl is usually fighting for her spot and saying that girl's can play too, so when Mara didn't feel like that I was surprised. She wants to play, but sees herself as more of a guy and doesn't think other girls should try to play. The internalized misogyny was relatable and a nice twist. Mara is trying to lay low until she goes to college. She thinks once she gets o Girls playing sports is always a subject that grabs me and a girl playing on the boy's football team is even better. I feel like the girl is usually fighting for her spot and saying that girl's can play too, so when Mara didn't feel like that I was surprised. She wants to play, but sees herself as more of a guy and doesn't think other girls should try to play. The internalized misogyny was relatable and a nice twist. Mara is trying to lay low until she goes to college. She thinks once she gets out of her small town she'll be able to come out as lesbian and dress how she wants. I felt bad that she wasn't getting support from her family and felt the need to hide her true self. Once she starts playing football, she starts changing. She also meets Jupiter, an out lesbian woman who dresses traditionally masculine and ends up being a mentor to Mara. Mara's thoughts about what it is to be a woman change a lot and her friendship with the other girls on the football team was the best part. They grew to depend on each other and stood against the many jerks trying to stop them from playing. I was pretty angry with the guys that bullied and harassed the girls and loved when Mara and her friends fought back. This is very much a girl empowerment story, as well as showing how important it is to be yourself and not let others dictate how you live your life. I really enjoyed listening to this one!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Lyn

    a character driven page turner

  14. 4 out of 5

    theresa

    butch lesbian taking down the patriarchy one highschool football team at a time! I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter butch lesbian taking down the patriarchy one highschool football team at a time! I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Like Other Girls in exchange for an honest review. I swear, authors really need to stop pushing out all these great queer sports books or I'm going to start actually understanding how sports work soon. Like Other Girls made me so happy for so many different reasons. First off, the character development Mara goes through in this is so stunningly done in such a relatable, important way. From the title, you already get the sense that Lundin has a sens Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Like Other Girls in exchange for an honest review. I swear, authors really need to stop pushing out all these great queer sports books or I'm going to start actually understanding how sports work soon. Like Other Girls made me so happy for so many different reasons. First off, the character development Mara goes through in this is so stunningly done in such a relatable, important way. From the title, you already get the sense that Lundin has a sense of the "not like other girls" trope so when we opened on girl-hating Mara I was expecting that to eventually get challenged, but I really like the way a side character was used to challenge those ideas before they're fully challenged within Mara herself to keep readers from being able to accidentally agree from with her which I think was really important with that toxic trait specifically because of the role YA has had in exasperating it. While I still got happy-teared up at the relationship in this, I think it had more to do with the fact that two girls even smiling at each other can make my rep-starved heart overemotional. I'm a big fan of balanced relationships and since Mara starts off at such a flawed place and its implied her love interest likes her from the beginning of the book (that's not a spoiler, it's very, very obvious), I could never quite get behind how perfect the love interest was. I wish she was given more flaws and depths both to make her feel more realistic and to balance out her relationship with Mara.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mel Delizia

    This book made me feel seen in so many incredible ways. Mara doesn’t want to be like the other girls, she doesn’t want to be lumped together, she just wants to be seen as one of the guys & get through football season so she can play basketball. The concept of this book immediately drew me in and it did not disappoint. I loved the conversation on femininity and masculinity and our MC learning that she doesn’t have to be “like other girls” to like other girls. I truly adored the friendships that b This book made me feel seen in so many incredible ways. Mara doesn’t want to be like the other girls, she doesn’t want to be lumped together, she just wants to be seen as one of the guys & get through football season so she can play basketball. The concept of this book immediately drew me in and it did not disappoint. I loved the conversation on femininity and masculinity and our MC learning that she doesn’t have to be “like other girls” to like other girls. I truly adored the friendships that blossomed from shared experience and Mara learning to let people in. I highlighted a bunch of lines that pointed out how absurd and harmful gender roles can be and thought that was so important to see in a YA novel. I am so glad that I got to read this one. Though I am not a football player, and never will be, I related to Mara on so many levels. I felt her anger as if it were my own and loved who she loved. I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a feminist read that explores gender, sexuality, coming out to yourself & redefining friendships.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Well, this was ENTIRELY my shit. Absolutely loved it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I’ve spent a really long time trying to come up with the perfect words to review Like Other Girls, but I’m not sure anything I say could do this book justice. First thing I should say is that it absolutely does not matter if you don’t know anything about American football. As a Brit, it means nothing to me. I’m aware of quarterbacks. I once went to a UCLA vs USC game and I left before the fourth quarter because I found the whole thing boring. So going in I was a little nervous about how much I’d I’ve spent a really long time trying to come up with the perfect words to review Like Other Girls, but I’m not sure anything I say could do this book justice. First thing I should say is that it absolutely does not matter if you don’t know anything about American football. As a Brit, it means nothing to me. I’m aware of quarterbacks. I once went to a UCLA vs USC game and I left before the fourth quarter because I found the whole thing boring. So going in I was a little nervous about how much I’d need to care or know about sport. Luckily I didn’t need to know anything about it! It’s explained where necessary and I didn’t feel lost at any point. (Seriously, I was stressing about the sport element so I was very relieved. But, at the same time, I think there’s enough for football fans too!) Things I love about this book: an angry girl protagonist! An angry girl protagonist who learns how to channel her anger appropriately! Love of where you come from! Jupiter! Power of female friendships! Tackling internalised misogyny! Examination of masculinity and femininity and gender roles and sexuality! Did I mention Jupiter! Another thing I really loved was the way it made me think further on my own gender presentation. Mara’s style leans towards masculine and she’s constantly faced with an awful pressure from her mom to wear dresses and make up. I’m quite feminine with what I wear, with lots of skirts and dresses and long hair, but Mara’s journey made me question why. I think it’s because of the judgement on bigger female bodies – we have a much harder struggle to look ‘professional’ and ‘put together’ in certain eyes, and presenting as stereotypically feminine is one of the easiest ways to circumvent that. (This might not seem relevant to Mara’s journey but a) it’s still about misogyny and b) I love any book that makes me stop and actually reflect on why I make the choices I do.) There is so much character growth in this book. Honestly, I got emotional at times simply because I was so proud of Mara and the changes she was making. She’s got a real chip on her shoulder about being associated with the other girls but her journey is beautiful and I was cheering for her every step of the way. I seriously can’t do Like Other Girls justice with this review but I really loved it. Please read it!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Grayson

    This was an arc I requested on a whim and expected to dnf. A football romance? Didnt really seem up my alley. I have bee pleasantly surprised that I actually really enjoyed this. It was a bit hard to get through the first half, Mara is struggling with internalized misogony and it makes it hard to read her POV at times. But she undergoes a realistic and authentic character growth and this book turns into a lovely girls supporting girls tale. My only thing that rubbed me wrong is this book ending This was an arc I requested on a whim and expected to dnf. A football romance? Didnt really seem up my alley. I have bee pleasantly surprised that I actually really enjoyed this. It was a bit hard to get through the first half, Mara is struggling with internalized misogony and it makes it hard to read her POV at times. But she undergoes a realistic and authentic character growth and this book turns into a lovely girls supporting girls tale. My only thing that rubbed me wrong is this book ending with them deciding to make a girls team, because despite proving themselves the whole season they say they still aren’t good enough to play on the boys team. I wish instead this book said it was due to wanting a girls only space free of sexism instead of not being “good enough to play with the boys. I am happy to see butch rep as there isnt much in YA. And I liked the casual enby rep and the butch role model. And I liked that the role model character despite being confident in her queerness was still scared. Made me feel better about my own feelings as a queer adult .

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    Thank you, NetGalley, Disney Publishing Worldwide and Freeform, for the chance to read and review this book! TW: sexism, sexual harrassment, violence, homophobia After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight, Mara has to prove to her coach that she can be a team player, so she decides to join the football team, along with her brother and her best friend Quinn, discovering she's a natural. But other girls decide to join the team and soon her choice becomes a politcal statement, trigger Thank you, NetGalley, Disney Publishing Worldwide and Freeform, for the chance to read and review this book! TW: sexism, sexual harrassment, violence, homophobia After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight, Mara has to prove to her coach that she can be a team player, so she decides to join the football team, along with her brother and her best friend Quinn, discovering she's a natural. But other girls decide to join the team and soon her choice becomes a politcal statement, triggering a chain of events in her small Oregon town and in her family and friends. Things are even more complicated since Mara's crush, Valentina, is now part of the team, and so is her nemesis, Carly. Soon the football team is divided between girls and boys and those who accept them and those who are willing to do anything in their power to kick them out. Mara has to face herself, her family and the people to be who she is and do what she loves. I loved reading Like other girls, Mara is a fantastic and complex main character and she was forced to face her preconceptions about gender, sport, sexuality and friendships. She has always preferred having boys as friends, shunning other girls and having strong opinions about their passions and how they act and they wear. Mara isn't like the girl her mother wants her to be. She hates dresses and heels, she doesn't like makeup and talking about boys and, when other girls join the football team, she is irritated she's seen as "one of them", as someone who doesn't know football and can't play properly. Mara struggles with her family, her absent father, her distant and jealous brother, her bigot (and frankly) a bit homophobic mother, who wants to force her to dress and act according to her vision of what girls should do, dress and act, blackmailing and hurting her, refusing to accept her as herself and her passion. At the same time, though, Mara has also preconceived notions about gender and sexuality and, during the book, she will learn to be more open and to accept that being a girl doesn't mean only dress or act feminine and doing "girly sports". Mara is forced to face her family and friends, while fighting to be who she is, finding new friends and allies (I loved her relationship with Jupiter) and proving to herself she can do anything and during the whole book the characters change and grow up, revealing their true nature in their intricacies and complexities, disappointing and surprising her. I also loved how Mara realizes the people who truly love and support her and the female friendships, their bond and love is truly amazing. I've also loved the slow burn and the cute love story, while Mara discovers and understands more about herself and her sexuality. In this coming- of- age the author addresses many important themes, like sexism, sexual harassment, homophobia and violence. Mara is angry, she's upset, she feels trapped in her small town, by her mother, her desires and her fears to be who she really is, to be open about her sexuality and passions, about what she wants to do and dress and cut her hair. Claustrophobic and forced to act, dress and be someone she's not, Mara fights to be who she is and, while the football was a way to get back to the basketball team, it opens a new world for her. A world where she will learn who her real friends are, what unity and support means, who to be who she is and be finally free. I love the way the author talks about the misconceptions surrounding being a girl and what a girl should do, dress, act and play to be accepted. Mara, and after her example, Valentina, Carly, River and Tayley, fight against these precoinceived notions, proving they can enjoy dresses and makeup and still play sports considered "for men" (like football) and be good at them, they can be flirt and be cheerleaders and refusing to accept sexism and violence. There's nothing girls can't do and this book is truly perfect. I totally recommend this book to those who are looking for strong and stubborn female characters, brilliant plot and wonderful characterization, in a captivating, thrilling and amazing book about fighting for oneself and one's passions.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josalynne Balajadia

    This was many of my favorite tropes in one novel. Underdog sport team, coming of age, finding yourself, and lesbians (and sapphics). Once I started I didn't want to stop. It was easy to read and the author knew how to balance the different conflicts to keep a steady pace that kept me interested the whole time. The most intriguing part about the novel was that it was about a girl coming of age but focused on her gnc than her sexuality. "Butch" type lesbians do not get much rep and are often softe This was many of my favorite tropes in one novel. Underdog sport team, coming of age, finding yourself, and lesbians (and sapphics). Once I started I didn't want to stop. It was easy to read and the author knew how to balance the different conflicts to keep a steady pace that kept me interested the whole time. The most intriguing part about the novel was that it was about a girl coming of age but focused on her gnc than her sexuality. "Butch" type lesbians do not get much rep and are often softened for greater appeal. It was nice to see that Ring of Keys awe and wonder captured in a novel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Lundin has done it again! Absolutely loved this story about gender and friendship and finding your strengths.

  23. 5 out of 5

    tessie

    (4.5) i was looking forward to reading this for the fun of a mediocre, easy to read ya book and hey !! it ended up being an actually very good, easy to read ya book !!! yayy? the main thing that stood out to me with this book was the character development. i’ve read SO many books lately where the main character feels ,, the exact same by the end of the book as they do at the beginning and SURE that is a CHOICE! but i love some actual noticeable character development this one explores internalised (4.5) i was looking forward to reading this for the fun of a mediocre, easy to read ya book and hey !! it ended up being an actually very good, easy to read ya book !!! yayy? the main thing that stood out to me with this book was the character development. i’ve read SO many books lately where the main character feels ,, the exact same by the end of the book as they do at the beginning and SURE that is a CHOICE! but i love some actual noticeable character development this one explores internalised misogyny in a really great way!! i’ve read many a book with a ‘not like other girls’ type of mc who never seems to get over her misogyny and it’s never addressed (and she’s usually cishet?? almost always actually??) so i liked a version of that but about a butch lesbian who DOES realise and by the end of the book has begun to get over that i love queer sports books!! i’m not sure why (i am sure why: three years of intensive haikyuu-fanfiction-reading when i was younger) but i do!! and this one was one of them! i’d say it was focused a little more on the sports element and less on the romance elements than some others?? it was still very, bluntly queer though because the largest theme of the plot was probably mara’s identity there are almost NO sapphic books with masculine presenting sapphics or butch lesbians so !!!! really happy that this one is out there now and i’m just hoping for moreee (and ESPECIALLY more where the main character regularly uses the label lesbian to describe themself!!!!!) i loved the rural setting in this!! i loved the use of the ‘older queer person who becomes a mentor for the younger queer person’ trope!! i loved it allll rep: lesbian mc, Asian (literally all that is mentioned about that is her saying ‘i’m Asian’ which . was a choice. i think it would’ve been great if the intersection of her queer Asian identity was explored a little more ??) lesbian li, queer sc, nonbinary queer sc,

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    Ship It is by far one of the worst books I've ever read but this sounds so good? Tentatively hopeful lmao Ship It is by far one of the worst books I've ever read but this sounds so good? Tentatively hopeful lmao

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katie Burrows

    I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See the end for teacher-specific feedback. I was excited by the premise of “Like Other Girls” by Britta Lundin. It’s one of those stories that seems to pop up in local or national news on occasion; girl makes history by joining boys’ football team. Plus, there’s a whole micro-genre of books devoted to this scenario, like “Michigan and the Boys” (hockey) and “A Season of Daring Greatly” (baseball). Havin I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See the end for teacher-specific feedback. I was excited by the premise of “Like Other Girls” by Britta Lundin. It’s one of those stories that seems to pop up in local or national news on occasion; girl makes history by joining boys’ football team. Plus, there’s a whole micro-genre of books devoted to this scenario, like “Michigan and the Boys” (hockey) and “A Season of Daring Greatly” (baseball). Having read and enjoyed those titles, I figured I knew what to expect from this one: tons of sexism, probably some identity issues on the part of main character Mara, and an uphill battle for Mara to prove she belongs on that field just as much as anyone. Did this book check all of those boxes? Yes. But it was also so much more. When I finished it, I couldn’t help reflecting that it was really a crash course in overcoming internalized misogyny. Mara comfortably identified as female, but all she wanted was to be seen as “one of the boys.” She nearly achieved this feat, until four other girls inspired by her example decide the to join the fray without any desire to conform to the masculine culture. In short, they are unapologetically young women playing on a men’s team. There were so many things to love about this book. A really great cast of characters, lots of growth on the part of Mara, and a somewhat nuanced exploration of a mother who can’t let go of the feminine vision she has for her daughter to see her for who she is are high points. The plot was well-paced, authentic, engaging, and well-concluded. Even outside of the importance of this book as an exploration of gender norms and how they affect us internally and externally, this was just a flat-out enjoyable read. As you would expect, though, sexism abounds. Hijinks perpetrated by angry team members suffering from severe cases of toxic masculinity are recurring and frustrating. Sexist and misogynistic comments are made about females’ bodies. Mara and the other girls don’t receive a lot of support from the adults whose job it is to keep them safe. Honestly, I felt like this made the portrayal even more accurate, but I know this can be hard to read for some folx. Additionally, Mara’s mother forces her to dress in ways that are extremely feminine and not-at-all Mara’s preferred gender presentation (i.e., forcing Mara to wear dresses, heels, lipstick, etc.). Mara is highly uncomfortable and dysphoric in these scenes, and I found them a bit hard to read. Another case of an accurate portrayal of the relationship some gender-nonconforming teens face with parents who seek to control their kid’s presentation. It puts the “realistic” in “realistic fiction,” but it makes you want to scream on Mara’s behalf. Also, while this book has no actual sex scenes and never moves beyond kissing or making out, there are a couple scenes that involve non-consensual contact (unwanted kissing and touching). There are also multiple parties with copious underage drinking. While all of those warnings probably make this book sound super dark, it’s not- there is a lot of light throughout the struggle. Mara truly loves playing football in a way that is almost infectious. Lundin’s descriptions of Mara’s thoughts and feelings at practice are so well-written and really made me feel the magic Mara felt on the field. The friendships Mara eventually forges, both with the other girls who join the team and with a new lesbian woman who moves to town, become a source of solace and bravery. Not every player on the football team is a raging douche, and some are even supportive from the very beginning. And, even though she struggles throughout the book with some pretty stark internalized misogyny, Mara refuses to compromise on who she is, even as it makes her life harder in various ways, something I found inspiring. All in all, this book was a really great read, and I highly recommend grabbing a copy. Now the teachery bit: I’ve covered most of the hard content earlier in the review, but I’ll also add a language warning. Explicit language, as well as language that sexualizes women’s bodies, occurs throughout the text. But, for all the explicit parts of the book, I truly feel like this book is honest, realistic, and authentic. Nothing felt gratuitous or unnecessary. This book would be most at home in grades 9-12, but I will likely still pick up a copy for my 8th-grade classroom library when it comes out. It would be cool to do a unit in grade 9 or 10 where this text was paired with similar texts about girls playing traditionally male sports. There’s a lot of good argument topics there, plenty of good nonfiction articles to pair, and plenty to talk about that will help kids clarify their own opinions and hopefully become better people. Merged review: I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. See the end for teacher-specific feedback. I was excited by the premise of “Like Other Girls” by Britta Lundin. It’s one of those stories that seems to pop up in local or national news on occasion; girl makes history by joining boys’ football team. Plus, there’s a whole micro-genre of books devoted to this scenario, like “Michigan and the Boys” (hockey) and “A Season of Daring Greatly” (baseball). Having read and enjoyed those titles, I figured I knew what to expect from this one: tons of sexism, probably some identity issues on the part of main character Mara, and an uphill battle for Mara to prove she belongs on that field just as much as anyone. Did this book check all of those boxes? Yes. But it was also so much more. When I finished it, I couldn’t help reflecting that it was really a crash course in overcoming internalized misogyny. Mara comfortably identified as female, but all she wanted was to be seen as “one of the boys.” She nearly achieved this feat, until four other girls inspired by her example decide the to join the fray without any desire to conform to the masculine culture. In short, they are unapologetically young women playing on a men’s team. There were so many things to love about this book. A really great cast of characters, lots of growth on the part of Mara, and a somewhat nuanced exploration of a mother who can’t let go of the feminine vision she has for her daughter to see her for who she is are high points. The plot was well-paced, authentic, engaging, and well-concluded. Even outside of the importance of this book as an exploration of gender norms and how they affect us internally and externally, this was just a flat-out enjoyable read. As you would expect, though, sexism abounds. Hijinks perpetrated by angry team members suffering from severe cases of toxic masculinity are recurring and frustrating. Sexist and misogynistic comments are made about females’ bodies. Mara and the other girls don’t receive a lot of support from the adults whose job it is to keep them safe. Honestly, I felt like this made the portrayal even more accurate, but I know this can be hard to read for some folx. Additionally, Mara’s mother forces her to dress in ways that are extremely feminine and not-at-all Mara’s preferred gender presentation (i.e., forcing Mara to wear dresses, heels, lipstick, etc.). Mara is highly uncomfortable and dysphoric in these scenes, and I found them a bit hard to read. Another case of an accurate portrayal of the relationship some gender-nonconforming teens face with parents who seek to control their kid’s presentation. It puts the “realistic” in “realistic fiction,” but it makes you want to scream on Mara’s behalf. Also, while this book has no actual sex scenes and never moves beyond kissing or making out, there are a couple scenes that involve non-consensual contact (unwanted kissing and touching). There are also multiple parties with copious underage drinking. While all of those warnings probably make this book sound super dark, it’s not- there is a lot of light throughout the struggle. Mara truly loves playing football in a way that is almost infectious. Lundin’s descriptions of Mara’s thoughts and feelings at practice are so well-written and really made me feel the magic Mara felt on the field. The friendships Mara eventually forges, both with the other girls who join the team and with a new lesbian woman who moves to town, become a source of solace and bravery. Not every player on the football team is a raging douche, and some are even supportive from the very beginning. And, even though she struggles throughout the book with some pretty stark internalized misogyny, Mara refuses to compromise on who she is, even as it makes her life harder in various ways, something I found inspiring. All in all, this book was a really great read, and I highly recommend grabbing a copy. Now the teachery bit: I’ve covered most of the hard content earlier in the review, but I’ll also add a language warning. Explicit language, as well as language that sexualizes women’s bodies, occurs throughout the text. But, for all the explicit parts of the book, I truly feel like this book is honest, realistic, and authentic. Nothing felt gratuitous or unnecessary. This book would be most at home in grades 9-12, but I will likely still pick up a copy for my 8th-grade classroom library when it comes out. It would be cool to do a unit in grade 9 or 10 where this text was paired with similar texts about girls playing traditionally male sports. There’s a lot of good argument topics there, plenty of good nonfiction articles to pair, and plenty to talk about that will help kids clarify their own opinions and hopefully become better people.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    4.5 Stars Content Warnings at end of review. Thank you to Netgalley and Disney Publishing Worldwide for an arc of this book. When Mara is kicked off the basketball team for fighting, her coach gives her the opportunity to play a fall team sport to prove she can go a season without fighting. Her coach thinks Mara will choose Volleyball, but she chooses football instead, and unintentionally inspires four other girls to join her. This book was so relatable for me. It really hit me in a lot of spots clo 4.5 Stars Content Warnings at end of review. Thank you to Netgalley and Disney Publishing Worldwide for an arc of this book. When Mara is kicked off the basketball team for fighting, her coach gives her the opportunity to play a fall team sport to prove she can go a season without fighting. Her coach thinks Mara will choose Volleyball, but she chooses football instead, and unintentionally inspires four other girls to join her. This book was so relatable for me. It really hit me in a lot of spots close to home, and I seriously identified with Mara in a lot of places. I loved watching her journey to understand her internalized misogyny and homophobia, and how her way of thinking about other girls was toxic. I was so sad she had to go through some of the things she did to gain that understanding, but I loved the way it all turned out in the end. I also really loved the way Mara chose to express herself, and her slow but sure realization that she wanted to be openly gay. I loved the girl-group on the football team, and the supportive boys they played with. Even though her interactions with her mom were difficult, I still loved how real and raw they were. Such a great book! Pub date: August 3, 2021 Content Warnings Graphic: Misogyny, Sexism, Bullying, Homophobia, and Lesbophobia Moderate: Sexual assault and Religious bigotry Minor: Medical content

  27. 5 out of 5

    Grace W

    Yeah I mean it’s fine and makes some great points but omfg it was a struggle to read through this and not scream at every single character constantly TW for this book include: Misogyny, Sexism, Bullying, Homophobia, Sexual assault, Religious bigotry, Medical content

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lena , süße Maus, Esq.

    'ate sports, luv gay sports novels -- simple as!! don't like it? 'ere's the door! 'ate sports, luv gay sports novels -- simple as!! don't like it? 'ere's the door!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Red Kai

    Like Other Girls is an amazing book. This book is so much fun to her friendships with her crushes as well. This book can make me get lost in this book for hours, turning page after page. Believe me, you won't regret reading this book. -Red Kai A gay that can't stop reading. Like Other Girls is an amazing book. This book is so much fun to her friendships with her crushes as well. This book can make me get lost in this book for hours, turning page after page. Believe me, you won't regret reading this book. -Red Kai A gay that can't stop reading.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    It’s not easy being a closeted butch lesbian in a small conservative town in rural Oregon, but high school junior Mara has a plan: play basketball, get a scholarship, go to college in Portland, come out. This is all threatened when Mara punches one of her basketball team - the truly annoying Carly Nakata - and her coach tells her she’s off the team next year unless she can play another team sport without incident. After trying the oh too girly volleyball team (make up! hair ribbons!), Mara goes o It’s not easy being a closeted butch lesbian in a small conservative town in rural Oregon, but high school junior Mara has a plan: play basketball, get a scholarship, go to college in Portland, come out. This is all threatened when Mara punches one of her basketball team - the truly annoying Carly Nakata - and her coach tells her she’s off the team next year unless she can play another team sport without incident. After trying the oh too girly volleyball team (make up! hair ribbons!), Mara goes out for the football team where her best friend, Quinn, and her brother, Noah, play. After getting somewhat settled in and being accepted, Mara is horrified when Carly and three other girls (including her crush Valentina) are inspired to join too. The author does a wonderful job of showing Mara's journey from wanting to be one of the boys to being proud to be part of the Elkhorn Five. The reaction of many of the team, though not unexpected, made my blood boil. There’s sly and covert actions like slashing Maras bike tires and hiding their clothes but as the girls become more of a media cause celebre, the teams hostility grows. The coaches are frustratingly and willfully unobservant. Mara's journey from closet to out is also beautifully drawn. A new arrival in town, Jupiter, is everything Mara wants to be and Jupiter becomes a kind and thoughtful confidant and mentor. She questions some of Mara’s beliefs and actions but is always supportive and caring. The family dynamic is sad but probably not untypical. Mara's mother is determinedly blinkered in her belief that Mara is just going through a phase and forces her into dresses and heels for church. Mara chafes at this, seeing the gulf between the daughter her mother wants and the daughter she actually has. The subplot with her father doesn’t really gel and he is a bit of a blank. Ms Lundin’s smashing debut novel, Ship It, was set in the world of TV shows and cons and it reflected that it’s a world she is familiar with. This feels similarly authentic - the small town setting, the characters and the situations all feel real and from the heart. Though this was a most enjoyable and entertaining read, I do have a couple of problems with the ending (spoiler alert). Firstly it plays out rather wishfully - maybe not all butch girls get so easily accepted by the cool girls in school and by their parents. And doesn’t setting up a women’s football league confirm what the boys were saying and let them off the hook for their appalling behavior? Thanks to Freeform and Netgalley for the digital review copy.

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