It’s been amazing to see the boon of books featuring female athletes in recent years. We chose 8 of our favorite books about women in sports to highlight below and also rounded up some books that are on our to-read list.
If you are looking for books about tennis stars, runners, swimmers, and gymnasts — this is the list for you!
*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.
The Best Books about Women in Sports
What an emotional non-fiction book about Madison’s life, her pressures, and her mental state leading up to her suicide. I remember when Madison’s suicide happened here in Philadelphia.
I was 8 months pregnant at the time. It was a tragedy that was all over the news as parents everywhere felt the pain of Madison’s parents.
I read this book as part of an upcoming book discussion at a local community center that works on suicide prevention. I learned so much about suicide from this book, which handled the subject with grace and thoughtfulness it deserves.
A Read With Jenna Pick for February 2022
I absolutely loved this book which is a story about love, family, and acceptance. It captured me from the first page with the story and the writing.
When Eleanor Bennett dies, she leaves a voice recording for her two children Benny and Byron. She wants to tell them things about her life that she could not say when she was alive.
While listening to their mother’s story, Byron and Benny learn about their mother, their family, and themselves. They try to piece their relationship back together. The novel looks at everyone’s life in the present and in the past.
This incredible story about a trio of ballerinas in Paris is a thriller and a feminist commentary all in one. I could not put it down!!!
It’s all about the tolls dancing takes on the physical and mental well-being of Paris’s premiere ballerinas. With some #metoo moments in here as well, this is a great book for book clubs and was a no-brainer as a pick for a list of books set in Paris!
I loved it so much when I listened to it that I tried to steal Jackie’s copy in this funny Instagram reel.
Fiction Books about Women in Sports
A great book that had me laughing out loud and wondering who in the world does these crazy diets!!
I also loved how the story found a 40-something finally embracing her own badassness and standing up for herself. This contemporary fiction is the perfect poolside read.
This YA novel is all about Olympic Gymnasts. It follows a fictional gymnast’s quest to make the Olympic team while trying to juggle friendships, family, rivalry, and chronic pain.
The book also heavily discusses sexual abuse from a Team USA coach. I think the balance was handled well for a book geared at young adults.
It balances the fun of the games with the seriousness of the assault scandal quite well.
It was a heartbreaking, but thought-provoking read. It also induced so much anxiety in me as a parent thinking about the signs I need to be on alert for in my own children in the future. I’m glad I read this, even though it was difficult at times.
Historical Fiction Books About Female Athletes
If you are a historical fiction reader who loves a bad-ass woman ahead of her time, then In Sight of the Mountain is for you. Set in 1889, Seattle-dwelling Anna lives at the foot of Mt. Rainer and dreams of being the first female to reach the summit.
As she struggles to balance her dreams of reaching the top of the mountain with the pressures of her gender, she finds her inner strength. The story deals with lots of other subjects including the Great Fire, prostitution, racism towards Indigenous people, and even a treasure hunt.
I’ve always been a firm lover of the Olympics, so I was eager to read this historical fiction book set in the 70s and 80s Soviet Union about an Olympic gymnast.
Having read a few books about gymnasts in the past, I was prepared for Anya’s ill-treatment at the hands of her coaches and trainers. I found the added elements of Russian communist life to be fascinating and helpful in creating a reason for her drive to be a legend. It’s on our list of books set in winter too!
Taylor Jenkins Reid Books about Female Athletes
Carrie Soto was the world’s most decorated tennis player who has come out of retirement to take back the title. Carrie was trained to be the best there was from a young age and has dedicated her entire life to winning- at the expense of everything else in her life.
I loved this book so much, that I could not put it down. I alternated between reading and listening to the book and have to say that the audio version was really fantastic. My heart was pounding with each and every game played.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has done it again with this book and we knew that it could not be left off a list of books like Daisy Jones and the Six. If you are looking for a book about women in sports from this list of summer reads 2023, this is a heart-pounding pick.
June 2021 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
Nina Riva is having her annual summer party that is famous for its epic scale and exclusivity. But this year, the party will end with devastation.
Nina and her siblings are famous children of one of the biggest rock stars of all time and they each have their secrets.
I have loved the last two books by Taylor Jenkins Reid so much that I often recommend them to friends for their universal appeal. I had high hopes for this book but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
I enjoyed the book but I felt that it was a little drawn out at times. Still, I loved Nina’s character and her ability to surf.