Hi everyone, I hope you’re all keeping well! I’ve been doing okay – I’ve not been reading a whole lot but I have been playing a bunch of Sims, which I’ve really been enjoying! I’m hoping to wean myself back into blogging so that I don’t get burnt out again, so this is hopefully the first of a few posts to come over the next month. I also want to say thank you to everyone who has followed the blog, written lovely comments or shared my posts in the time I’ve been away – I’m sorry I haven’t had the energy to check up on you all but I am so thankful and I’m looking forward to reading all your amazing posts!
But without any further ado, today’s post is all about sports sapphics – and what better time to write this than the first days of the Olympics! Though some not so great things have come out of this years Olympics so far, ever since I was younger I have loved watching both the summer and winter Olympics (and hyper fixating on them but that’s another story) and I’ve grown up playing on all kinds of sports teams (netball, hockey, rugby), so naturally, I love reading sapphic books featuring main characters who play sports! So, I decided to share some with you all, because I’m sure there’s a sport out there that will catch your eye (especially if there are some hot sapphics involved, am I right!), including both books by more well known, larger authors and publishers, and some indies too!
Without veering into the fantasy, elves-with-bows, category, archery was quite hard to find any books for – but one I know that many people do love is A Shot at Gold by Nicole Pyland, and this won’t be the last time she appears on this list! This follows Elodie, who is at the top of her game in the archery world, until she loses her father figure and takes a step back from the sport for good. Madison is looking for a new coach, with her eyes set on the Olympics, but the only person suitable for the task is Elodie, who is now a lawyer who wants nothing to do with the sport. But Madison has also felt loss, and she thinks that she might have what it takes to get Elodie on her team.
Perhaps more surprisingly, it was also really hard to find books featuring athletics! But I did manage to find a couple, including Falling for Faith by Erica Lee, which I know a good few of my friends really enjoyed! This follows Joey, a member of her college track team, who has been struggling with her religious background and her faith, that is until she meets the beautiful and aptly named Faith, and the two grow closer. Some Girls Do is a 2021 YA release following Morgan, a track star who has to change schools due to her Catholic school’s anti-queer regulations, and Ruby, beauty-pageant contestant who loves fixing old cars, as they slowly fall for each other.
Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few books to do with sapphics playing baseball and softball (though I’m not quite sure of the difference between the two), but so that this post isn’t humungous, here are two standouts! First up is, surprise surprise, another book by Nicole Pyland! The Unexpected Dream follows Mia and Skylar, who both had their Olympic dreams pulled out from under them, that is until a new local softball team comes into the picture, and brings the two women together over their love for the sport. This book takes place at the Tokyo Olympics so, again, there’s no better time to pick this book up! From lesfic royalty, Radclyffe, we also have Love After Hours which is a romance featuring a hospital CEO’s administrator by day, and star softball pitcher by night, Carrie, and ambitious and heartbroken Gina.
If you’re looking for sapphic books featuring basketball, you’re in luck, because there are a plethora of them out there! I’m going to highlight three in particular that I think are particularly exciting! I’m sure you’re all well aware of Kelly Quindlen’s latest book – She Drives Me Crazy – it’s a YA sapphic enemies-to-lovers, fake dating romance between a basketball player and a cheerleader that already seems to have captured everyone’s hearts! One that I’m really looking forward to reading is Simply Connected by Alex Washoe which is a f/nb romance that is all about self discovery. It follows Blaise who is trying to complete her mathematics thesis while raising her son as a single mother, as she meets Christie, a basketball player who is at the top of their game! As a nonbinary lesbian I’m always looking for more f/nb books, so I can’t wait to pick this one up. Finally, since it’s also time for the Paralympics, too, we have Rebound by Lynette Mae. This follows Connor whose life is turned upside down when she becomes paralysed from the waist down after an accident on the basketball court, but she soon finds her love for wheelchair basketball and a woman called Shawn. I’ve not seen any own-voices reviews for this one, and as far as I’m aware it isn’t ownvoices disability rep, but I think it’s still a very important addition to this list!
There are also a fair few books about horse sapphics out there, though not so many that focus solely on the sport (is it really a sport though??), but two that have caught my eye include The Key to You and Me by Jaye Robin Brown. Though I didn’t personally love this book, I do know that it will really click for other people – it’s a YA contemporary romance following Piper who’s taking horse riding lessons from an ex-Olympian and trying to get over her ex-girlfriend, and Kat, who is trying to earn some money by giving driving lessons, and is also questioning her sexuality. One thing I really did love about this book was that the word lesbian is used on-page to describe the main characters! The second book is one that I’ve been meaning to get to for a few months now, and it is Pas de Deux by E. J. Noyes. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book from everyone I’ve seen reviewing it! This is a second-chance hate to love romance between a dressage rider heading to the Rio Olympics, and the new team vet who once knew each other while growing up and going to pony club! E. J. Noyes really seems to know and love the ‘sport’ so I’m sure that this is going to be a really great read!
We all love a good sapphic with a sword, don’t we (does this count…it does, right??), so it’s surprising that there are so few sapphic books about fencing out there! One of my flatmates in my last year of uni did fencing so I know the very bare minimum about the sport, but I’m really looking forward to picking up Thrust by Rachel Spangler. This is a second-chance childhood friends-to-lovers-to-strangers-to-friends-to-potentially-lovers (!) relationship following Jess, childhood fencing prodigy with big dreams, who falls for her team captain, Lauren. Years later, Jess is ready to make good on her promise to make it to the Olympics, but she needs a coach, and Lauren fits the bill. But Lauren will only help her if they focus solely on the sport and not their attraction to each other!
Football, or soccer, also has it’s fair share of sapphic books – and it’s pretty clear why because, come on, who hasn’t had a crush on at least one women’s football team member?? Top of Her Game by M. Ullrich follows sought-after rookie, Kenzie, as she’s drafted in her home state alongside her idol and crush, Sutton. Quickly, sparks start to fly between the two of them, but then a sexual assault scandal rocks the team and threatens to split them apart. Defensive Mindset by Wendy Temple is a rivals-to-lovers romance set in Edinburgh (ahhh!!) and follows successful businesswoman/footballer Jessie and burntout barmaid Fran as they find themselves playing on the same local team! Finally, you may have heard of Zoe Reed’s other fantasy novels, but she also has a sports romance out called Endgame! This follows Audrey whose plan was to make captain of the football team and then focus on school – easy! That is until Morgan Bailey and her sweet yet show-off nature showed up!
Golf is another sport that I always question if it is actually one or not, but there are also quite a few sapphic books featuring it if it is your kinda thing! The Long Shot by A. L. Brooks is a slow burn hate-to-love romance following Morgan – a talented up and coming golfer who is desperate for her first major win while struggling with a sexist father – and Adrienne who has thrown herself into her career to create a documentary on Morgan’s story while harbouring a tiny crush – but Morgan sees this as a major invasion of her privacy. A Swing at Love by married duo Harper and Caroline Bliss is a sweet friends to lovers story following Diane who has a successful work-life balance giving her plenty of time to relax at the local golf club after divorcing her husband. There she meets new hire Tamsin who teaches at the club and the two become fast friends.
There is a surprising dearth of sapphic gymnastics stories out there (one of my favourite sports to watch at the Olympics), but don’t worry, because Johana Gavez gave us a great one with her free (!) short story, Leap to Love! Leap to Love follows Sonya Vassilieva who is Russia’s greatest hope of winning gold at the Olympics, but when she makes a mistake in one of her routines, her chances, and her relationship with one of her teammates, Arina, is ruined. Arina wants to retire from the sport and just spend her life quietly together with Sonya, but then Sonya broke her heart, and Arina wasn’t counting on being stuck with her at a training camp in Mallorca, where they first got together.
Next up is martial arts, and of course I have to mention one of my favourite books this year so far – The Clinch by Nicole Disney. This follows Eden Bauer who grew up in a rough part of New York City and took refuge in her local Taekwondo dojang. Being taken under the master’s wing, Eden excels at MMA, becoming the world featherweight champion. But then a new rival appears – the loud and cocky Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion, Brooklyn Shaw who is determined to get under Eden’s skin. Inside Fighter by Ruby Scott follows Dani, who after getting attacked and mugged, decides to join a self-defence class at the local gym. There she meets Logan, the trainer, who is dealing with her own trauma and how it affects her relationships.
Growing up, cycling was not a sport I loved (and it is still far from being my favourite), but after having worked on a major cycling competition I have a newfound respect and enjoyment for the sport! Food for Love by C. Fonseca follows British-Indian star cyclist Jessica who has to fly home to deal with her late brother’s estate, including his restaurant, which is the last thing she want’s to do. But when she meets the restaurant’s owner, Lillian, and her adorable daughter, Jessica finds it hard to control her emotions around them.
For such a sapphic sport, again there aren’t a whole lot of books written on the topic, but Open Water by Pol Robinson stands out as one of the few. It follows Cas who was previously dismissed after receiving an injury, but who has just been chosen as a competitor for the US Rowing Team in China. It’s her last chance and she’s desperate to prove herself, but her teammate and ex-girlfriend, Laura, is put off by her ex suddenly appearing on the team again, and wary of her talents, too.
Sadly, there are very few sapphic books about my favourite sport, rugby, but one of my favourite indie lesfic authors, Margaux Fox, has written a really great (also free!) novella! Play With Me follows Shay, the captain of her rugby team that won the championship last season, as she has to play her first match against her ex-girlfriend and ex-teammate Liv. It’s obvious while reading this that Fox knows and loves the sport, too, so it was a real joy to read and the action was so well written!
Sailing is another sport (?) that I’ve never really got into, but there is a surprising number of sapphic books written about! Tack & Jibe by Lilah Suzanne is a sapphic novella following Willa, who supposedly leads the perfect nautical life – she lives in a seaside cottage, spends her days working at a sailing shop and chilling out at the beach, and she runs a popular sailing Instagram account. It’s so much so that her followers enter her into a national sailing championship – but the thing is, she doesn’t know how to sail. So, she enlists the help of sailing champion Lane to give her a crash-course in sailing, but Willa catches feelings fast! Running with the Wind by Nell Stark follows Corrie who, by day is the head instructor of her local university’s sailing team, and by night indulges in casual sex with her friends, that is until she meets vet student, Quinn.
The book I’ve chosen for this sport is a wee bit removed from the version of the sport played in the Olympics, but this is my post so I’m including it!! Rock and a Hard Place follows expert mountaineer Jayden, who turns her back on the sport after an avalanche on Mount Everest signals disaster. Rhian Phillips, a marketing executive, is hired to produce a reality TV show following competitive climbers, but when an accident brings the two women together they have to count on each other.
We all love a good sapphic surfer, don’t we, so of course I have to mention a couple of books featuring them! Sparks Like Ours by Melissa Brayden follows Gia, who desperately wants to be the world’s best surfer, but standing in her way is number one in the rankings, and fan favourite, Elle. All Elle wants is a little bit of quiet and time to relax, but with Gia closing in on her number one spot, Elle has to up her game. Breaker’s Game by Julie Cannon follows heartbreaker and surfer, Colby, who is running away from her mistakes, until she meets uptight university professor, Elizabeth. Elizabeth finds herself drawn to Colby, but can’t imagine any kind of relationship with the notorious player.
This one again, is slightly cheating (no, it’s definitely cheating), because I’m mentioning a whole duology – but I have to because the second book is one of my favourite books of all time and it also features the Tokyo Olympics! All the Worlds Between Us follows high-schooler Quinn who has a strict and rigorous training schedule as she’s determined to make the swimming World Championships. That is until her first kiss and childhood crush, Kennedy, walks back into her life, but it turns out that Quinn’s twin brother also has feelings for Kennedy too. All the Paths to You is set a couple of years after the first book, but can also be read as a standalone, and it features the best discussion I’ve ever read on sports and how they can impact your mental health, despite always being sold as some sort of cure-all for it.
If you love tennis then you’re in luck because there are some amazing sapphic books out there that are sure to be right up your street! Starting off is a book I, personally, am so excited to read after loving one of this author’s other books – Slammed by Lola Keeley. This follows number one tennis star, Elin, who is en route to winning a record number of Grand Slam titles, but with injuries and anxiety looming over her, her heart doesn’t feel fully in it. But when Toni bursts onto the scene, climbing up the rankings, Elin starts falling for her rival, but the media are starting to close in on them. Code of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue follows top tennis star Viva who was knocked out of the US Open and then found herself injured, practically ending her career on the spot. While recovering, Viva ends up meeting the lineswoman who got her knocked out of the Open, and Viva sees a whole other side to her. The only problem is, officials and players aren’t allowed to date.
Lastly, we have volleyball – a sport I don’t know all that well but that I do love playing with friends! For this sport we have In Her Court by Edie Bryant which follows Camille – world-famous volleyball star who seems to have the perfect life, except she’s missing one thing, a man to go home to in the evenings. But then she meets Ella, who has a rocky dating history herself, and sparks begin to fly as Camille finds herself questioning whether it’s a man she really wants to go home to at all.
I hope you managed to find something in that list of books! Though there are still so few books about sports sapphics, there are still so many that weren’t mentioned here today for several reasons – I either didn’t manage to fit them all in, they’re for Winter Olympic sports, or they’re just not represented in the Games yet – so definitely keep an eye out for other posts in the future! If you have any recommendations, too, I’d love to hear them! Stay safe!