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Throw Like a Girl

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Friday Night Lights meets Morgan Matson's The Unexpected Everything in this contemporary debut where swoon-worthy romance meets underdog sports story.

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all in one fell swoop. With no other options, Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, Northland, where she'll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, all while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched... Every. Single. Day.

Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with amazing hair and a foolproof plan: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he'll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. But it will take more than the perfect spiral for Liv to find acceptance in Northland's halls, and behind that charming smile, Grey may not be so perfect after all.

With well-drawn characters and a charming quarterback love interest who's got brains as well as brawn, Throw Like a Girl will have readers swooning from the very first page.


First published January 7, 2020

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About the author

Sarah Henning

14 books1,416 followers
Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

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5 stars
1,012 (28%)
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3 stars
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37 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 574 reviews
Profile Image for Christy.
3,707 reviews31.5k followers
June 1, 2020
4 stars


This was such a cute YA sports romance! I have been wanting to read it since it was released and I'm so glad I found the time.

Liv Rodinsky's life has revolved around softball since she started high school, but due to an incident, she has to switch schools. The school she's going to is her rival team and they're not sure she's the kind of player they want, even though she's super talented. She has to prove she's a team player, but how? The injured QB of her new school's team has an idea.

Grey is the QB and he has a back up, but since he can't throw for now he needs someone else to be in the game. When he sees Liv throw, he knows it has to be her. Since Grey's mom is the softball coach she needs to impress, Liv gets on board fairly quickly. Still, there are a lot of obstacles in her way during this new venture.

I loved the romance between Grey and Liv and I loved even more that it wasn't the main part of this story. This book touched on sexism in sports, family issues, and other serious topics, but still managed to stay light and fun. Overall, I really enjoyed it. v
December 26, 2019

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I don't normally go in for the cute, fluffy books, but the prospect of a female quarterback playing on an otherwise all-male team was too intriguing to ignore. My high school actually had a girl playing on the junior varsity team, and since I went to high school a while ago, people made a much bigger deal of that then than they did in this book. Sexism in sports is a real thing, yo.

THROW LIKE A GIRL is about a girl named Liv. She's the darling of her private school, a key player on the softball team, and a solid contender for the homecoming court. Then one day, a girl says something homophobic about her sister, an out lesbian who is also the coach for their team, and Liv decks her in the face, breaking her nose. Which means suspension. Which means the loss of her scholarship. Which means no more private school.

Liv has no choice but to transfer to the public school across town, which isn't exactly eager to take her on their softball team. Liv has to prove her team spirit first, and that seems like it might be impossible until the male quarterback from the football team sees her throw something in a fit of anger and tells her she's got a good arm. A quid pro quo deal is worked out: if she joins the football team and does well, then maybe she can go for softball, too.

This book was fine. It didn't really have a lot of depth and Liv had serious anger management issues. I also thought it was pretty dumb that she never told anyone why she punched the mean girl. Her love interest, Grey, also does something pretty stupid, refusing to tell anyone about a pretty serious problem that could have drastic consequences on his health. I know, I know, I'm a thirty-year-old woman and these are teenagers. I know-- but still, it was so stupid.

That said, the usual things that make books like these unbearable-- obnoxiously plucky heroines, teenagers acting like out of touch adults, fake swearing, girl-on-girl hate, internalized misogyny-- were blissfully absent. THROW LIKE A GIRL takes a pretty healthy look at the camaraderie of sports without any of the sexist stuff, and there's some pretty great female relationships in here too.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

2.5 to 3 stars
Profile Image for Leah Waters.
366 reviews54 followers
July 12, 2020
Oh how I love this book! Let me count the ways. *pauses* Oops, there's too many to count.

This is one of the best contemporary books I've ever read.

The characters should always be the driving force in romance, and Sarah Henning could not have developed Liv or Grey more. Every character was alive with voice that made them seem real, like someone I'd talk with in class. Liv was an inspirational narrator, with flaws and virtues that make her a wonderful protagonist. The chemistry between Liv and Grey was perfection--they are SO cute together, but not so much that they're mushy or annoying.

As for the plot, it was a wonderful balance between sports action and everyday interaction between characters. Even though I couldn't care less about football or softball, I was engaged and invested in ever game and practice that took place.

And, this book is unapologetically feminist, which is awesome. Go girls!

I am so impressed by Throw Like a Girl. I cannot recommend it enough!
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 6 books50.5k followers
March 17, 2020
Funny thing: I read three books last month with protagonists named Olive; this was the middle book, sandwiched between Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteredge stories.

I met the author (hi Sarah!) on a writer's retreat last fall and it was a joy to get to read some of her work. This book, her newest, just came out in January, and it was so sweet and fun.

Liv's hot temper got her kicked off her school's softball team, but then she's given a second chance at athletic success when her new school's quarterback recruits her to be his back-up. I thought I knew where this book was going to go ... and I was wrong, and I loved that about it. It manages to cover serious issues relevant to teens and today's culture (hello, concussions) while still feeling like an easy, light-hearted read.

If you're on the lookout for a sweet, smart, and chaste YA novel—whether that's for you or a young reader in your life—this could be exactly what you're looking for.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,852 reviews1,490 followers
February 11, 2020
This exactly fit my mood, hit all the right notes, and provoked a few laugh-out-loud moments along the way. So that's a complete win. This is definitely a "grant the premise" book because Liv absolutely tops the chart of possibilities when it turns out that her competent athleticism includes natural talent that slots easily into football quarterback. It's not complete fantasy as she is a dedicated athlete with hard-earned and well-established leadership skills. But still...

But I loved her and sympathized immediately and never lost that engagement. She's determined and hard-working and makes understandable (but frustrating as this is realistically high school age) mistakes that she does her best to atone/recover/redeem. And I really liked her connecting with Grey and was thrilled that the hints of flaws in his initially-ideal presentation came together to reveal his own feet of clay that threw things into confusion but also made him human, understandable, and frankly, a great match for Liv. So seeing that play out was fun and interesting and worth the story on its own.

But Henning also does an excellent job with the side characters, a couple of lovely secondary romances, and believable teens in all their awkward glory. But even better for a YA, the adults are equally well-presented with their own set of mistakes and misreads but also modeling support and love and striving to do better. And I particularly loved Henning's handling of the team dynamic and Liv being a girl on the team had just the right effect without leaning into message fiction or a diversity polemic (as it could easily have done). Henning's background as a sports writer may play a role there as those team interactions felt an authentic mix of awkward and accepting.

So this is a clear win and I'm giving it an enthusiastic five stars that it probably actually earned (note that it exactly hit my mood-sweet-spot above so I may simply be indulging a lovely afterglow). I really wish Henning had some more contemporary stories for me to dive into, but like any great teen romance, there's always hope for the future...

A note about Chaste: Liv is deeply involved with sports and she is outside her normal community/routine and her relationship with Grey is new and turbulent enough that sex was never realistically on the table. There are some great kisses but nothing more is even hinted at so I consider this pretty chaste.
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,039 reviews462 followers
April 23, 2021
I love it when an author takes a trope and turns it on its head!

In Throw Like a Girl, you do indeed get all the usual tropes to be found in a typical YA novel.
Boy Meets girl, and they fall in love.
Boy talks girl into joining the high school football team as his relief quarterback.
Girl ends up helping to lead the team to the state championships.
But alas, boy harbors secrets that ultimately shatter her trust, and they break up.
Boy apologizes and she accepts his sincere apology, but won't take him back, because - of course: still no trust.
Girl later cools down and decides: I still want boy, so I'm going to go get his sorry butt back, then order him to go to the Homecoming dance with me (I loved that scene!)

Boy and girl work together to take their team to the state championships in a nail biter of a game.

You may think I've just given you a huge list of spoilers, but there is so much more to this story than just ticking off a series of tropes. This is a very character driven story and everyone grows from Liv's struggles to be accepted as a player on an all male team. It was Sarah Henning's excellent writing and her own slant on these tropes that made this story so memorable.

Liv is so strong, but also very human and fallible. The scene where her father forbids her to continue to play football was so realistic it gave me a stress headache. Poor Liv! But her older sister Danielle, a highly respected softball coach, convinces their father to allow Liv back on the football team. (Danielle's troubles as a closet lesbian are also addressed in this story, and also drive some of the action.) I couldn't put this book down! Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,290 followers
August 12, 2019
I desperately wanted something fun, so I dug into my 2020 ARC stash and this did NOT disappoint. Sports Romances in YA that contain actual sports are so rare, and this is one of the most knowledgeable ones I’ve read so far, which is no surprise given the author. On top of that, I really love the way it balances not just romance but all these great family moments and friendships. This was just everything I love about light contemporary romance. (CW: Homophobia, in the first chapter)
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
978 reviews239 followers
December 20, 2019
3.5 stars

First, I have to give this book high praise for the fact that it's a contemporary sports romance within the Young Adult genre. Maybe it's just me, but I typically have difficulty finding a sports romance in YA. I am able to find stories that include sports to some degree but the involvement of the sport in the story is usually minimal.

Another unique aspect within this particular novel is that the main female character plays a sport. This was very refreshing and different for me because for many sports romances that I read, it's solely the male that is involved in a sport. Add on the fact that the female main character starts playing a male dominated sport and I was on board and here for it from the beginning.

Accompanying a good story and plot, it's obvious that the writer 'knew her stuff' when it came to the sports--whether it be from experience or research. This was evident through the language and examples that the author used when detailing different plays or strategies. As well, I liked how the involvement of concussions was integrated into the story because it continues to be a very serious issue within contact sports that needs to be brought to light more instead of being kept hidden.

This was a fun yet uniquely important story that is extremely positive for teenagers (or adults). It was honestly truly empowering and was an example on how one should do what they want and not follow the gender constructs that society can sometimes place on individuals.

***Thank you to the publisher for supplying me with an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Yoda.
569 reviews110 followers
August 25, 2020
Super quick read, mostly fluffy book. Sometimes annoying but which book about teenagers (read by an adult) isn´t?
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,240 reviews219 followers
April 2, 2020
Liv is a high school softball player who's looking to her sport to pay her way through college. All of that is at risk when she retaliates after an on-field homophobic comment about her sister who's also her softball coach. The fallout is major and leaves her unable to stay at the private school where she had been playing softball. After moving to the local public school, which is both the school of her ex and the school that she was playing against when the incident happened, her path to playing softball is blocked by a coach that doesn't think she's a team player. But then the quarterback of the high school football team sees her throw a ball to her brother and approaches her to join the football team. While initially it doesn't look like she'll get much game time in the otherwise all-male team, her skill and attitude soon see her on the field.

This was good and interesting. Liv's home life is an interesting look at a family under stress (her mother has cancer) but are always compassionate even when they're making mistakes. Liv's enthusiasm for sport was fun to read through including the almost-professional level to injuries that the high school system has over there.

Which really brings me to the main thing about this book that really sucked me in. For someone from my background this reads like dystopian science fiction. Imagine a world where a family member developing a potentially fatal disease (devastating in itself) also means that your family loses everything and have to move in with their adult daughter and spouse. Imagine a world where children have to become elite athletes not because they particularly love the games they play, but because they need to get an education. And no-one thinks this is strange. And no-one questions it.

While this story is sweet, with a happy ending and has a low-key romance going on, and teenagers making silly decisions here and there and is all very engaging for all of that, I just can't get over how specifically f*d up this scenario actually is.

Profile Image for Melanie  Brinkman.
618 reviews73 followers
May 7, 2020
She's in it to win it, even if it means making some plays she didn't plan on.

When softball star Liv throws an ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she strikes out. Her scholarship to her private school, her boyfriend, and her team, all gone in one swoop. Left with no other options, she transfers to the nearest public school, Northland, where she has the task of convincing their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team. That's not to mention that she also has to face teammates of the girl she decked, and her ex, Jake.

Enter Grey, the cute, injured star quarterback with a foolproof plan: if Liv becomes his temporary replacement, he'll make sure she gets a spot on the Spring softball team. But what if the perfect spiral isn't enough to win in the halls or the turf of Northland?

A story of hearts and hard hits. A tale of love and love for the game.

Trigger warnings for injury, mention of the past injuries, cancer, talk of a car accident, underage drinking, and homophobia.

Talented, hardworking Liv didn't accept defeat. Hardworking, the young athlete was loyal to the sport, her team, and her heart. Even though her angry impulses sometimes got the better of her, I admired her bravery as she took on every challenge playing on a male-dominated team brought. Liv read a bit young, but she was likeably flawed.

From her former coach sister, Danielle, to her football player brother, Ryan, to her best friend, Addie, to her ex, Jake, to the charming Grey, it was a competition between blood and love for the game to run through their veins. Lovingly crafted, it was easy to imagine them hanging out on the fields, practicing or playing their days away.

As much as they loved their sports, Liv's family loved each other even more. The siblings banter was as great as their deeper talks. Liv's bond with Addie was almost as close as sisterhood and a win for friendship. Unfortunately, as adorable as she and Grey were on the surface, their relationship felt like a product of circumstance, and it lacked a much-needed spark.

Despite my trying, sports are not my forte. Yet I am irresistibly attracted to stories about fictional female athletes. Watching Liv crush challenge after challenge, was as entertaining as cheering in the runners after a home run has been hit. What made me almost call foul though was the easily glossed over lead ins to talk about misogyny, anger management, and homophobia, all to give more time to romance. However, Sarah Henning knocked it out of the park by highlighting the seriousness of sports-related injuries (especially concussions). A light-hearted, fast paced, contemporary of kicka**ry, sweet family moments, and love, Throw Like a Girl deserves it's own after game celebration.

Throw Like a Girl may not have been a game winning touchdown, but it was a field goal.
Profile Image for Janssen.
1,531 reviews3,405 followers
May 18, 2020
It was cute and a quick read (bonus point for referencing Peter Kavinsky) but I felt like the plot had SO MANY thin places that I just couldn't buy it.
Profile Image for Kris (frantic4romantic).
199 reviews34 followers
February 11, 2020
You know how sometimes you forget how much you like something until you do it again? That was me after reading this sweet highschool sports romance. Which I almost completely finished in a single sitting, I might add.

Liv, or O-Rod as she’s so loving called by her friends, is so spunky and determined. She reminded me of myself in highschool. Dedicated to the sport I loved. When Liv makes a choice that ultimately uproots her life right before her junior year of Highschool, an unexpected opportunity presents itself via her new school’s starting quarterback — Grey Worthington.

I loved how detailed this story was. At times I felt like I was out there on the field with the characters. There was some teen angst at the height of the story’s main conflict, but as with any YA, it was expected.

I’d totally recommend this to anyone in search of a young adult romance. It was sweet, swoony, and at times silly. A definite page turner.
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,013 reviews118 followers
January 2, 2020
"I try but fail to wash the loss out of my hair- Garnier Fructis can only do so much."

I have a confession to make... I’ve never read a book written by Morgan Matson or watched the television show, Friday Night Lights. So this was an entirely new experience for me and I was really impressed. This was an amazing girl-power read with some cuteness thrown in.

I went in expecting this to be another sexist read with a super swoony romance but it wasn’t. I was pleasantly surprised when things turned out the way they did.

A female on an all-male football team and they all supported her. It was a freaking miracle and made my feminist heart so proud. They didn’t push her down but was impressed with her ability and encouraged her to be part of the team. Yes, the romance between Grey and Liv was supposed to take the main spotlight but I felt it took a back burner to Liv being on the football team.

All characters in this book were stellar and you actually care for them. Nothing makes you think otherwise, even when things take a nasty turn. Things could have been off-putting but it never went down that road.

The family bonding and love that they shared was amazing. No one was left out and they were each other’s crutch even when things took a downward spiral. I loved it. And the friendships were just as strong.

There was one thing that I’ve noticed that threw me a bit. I’m shocked that no one has compared this to a certain book written by Jenny Han. The mannerisms of these characters reminded me of ones in TATBILB. This author even mentions Kavinsky in this book. But maybe that’s why I enjoyed this one so much. I hope Han gets a sweet mention in the acknowledgments.

Throw Like a Girl was so much more than a cute contemporary. It’s the book that people need to read for empowerment. Don’t ever think that you’re not good enough for something. Stand proud and do what you love. Don’t hold back and if you need support, you know where I am!!
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,104 reviews436 followers
February 20, 2020
I recently saw this book spoken about on book twitter, and the allusions to She's the Man just resonated with me, and I knew I needed a copy as soon as possible. After hitting a girl on the rival team in the final game of the softball season, Liv finds herself thrown out of her private school, and sent to Northfield, the school her team was playing against in the fateful game. With no softball to rely on, and very little chance of her getting the opportunity to play, she doesn't know what to do with herself. Before school starts in the summer, she's relegated to ferrying her younger brother back and forth to football practice, and she's spotted by the team's injured quarterback, Grey, who recruits her for their team to play in her stead. The fact that his mother is Coach Kitt, the softball coach, and he'll put in a good word for Liv. The more she plays football, without her family's permission, the more she is enjoying being back on a team, and grows closer to Grey. However, everything soon comes out, and Liv finds it hard to do what her heart wants, and what her head is telling her to do.

I loved Liv. She had so much about her that was fantastic, and the morality of her actions which lost her her team and school were so right, that no one could really fault her for it. She had an air about her that made her likeable to all, and it's no surprise that Grey fell for her as swiftly as he did. Grey was moody but open, and when he was with Liv, and could talk more about his injuries and why he needed someone like Liv to take over his role as quarterback. The side characters, but especially Liv's family and best friend, Addie, were all fantastic in their own rights too.

Yes, the plot was a bit predictable at times, but I did enjoy it, and overall I liked Sarah's writing style, so will likely try her other books, though I know they're not contemporaries.
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews342 followers
December 29, 2019
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Ellie King

Throw Like A Girl is the contemporary debut for author Sarah Henning. With two books already on her roster, Sea Witch and its exciting sequel Sea Witch Rising, this new novel is a dramatic change of pace for readers. Henning’s previous works fall squarely in the fantasy pool, but this entertaining story introduces the reader to the world of elite high school sports.

It is the story of champion softball player Liv Rodinsky and the consequences she faces after, understandably, losing her cool and starting a mid-game fight on the field with a girl from local public school, Northland. As a result of the fight, Liv loses her boyfriend, but more importantly she loses her scholarship to the private school she attends and her place on their team. To her horror, she finds herself enrolled at Northland without a place on the softball team. With college scouts on the horizon, Liv sets out to prove to Northland’s softball coach, Coach Kitt, that she would be an asset on the team and she gains an unlikely ally.

Then there’s injured Northland star quarterback, Grey, who sees her throwing a football and convinces Liv to join the football team as a temporary second replacement quarterback until he is cleared to play. In return he will put in a good word with Coach Kitt, his mother. Without many other choices and a school of people against her, Liv agrees and what begins her journey for acceptance and discovers along the way that not everything or everyone is as it seems.

Throw Like A Girl is a delightful YA contemporary sports novel with a very swoon-worthy love story. Despite this story having a genuine romance, it is not simply a story about two teens falling in love. It explores an elite athlete’s trials and tribulations of self discovery and transition through life while providing actual sports play. This accuracy comes from Henning’s background as a sports journalist and it is what makes this stand apart from others in the genre. I am not a sports fan in any way, but I enjoyed learning about the game of football as it was presented in an easy to read way without oversimplifying any of the technical terminology. The story is authentic and provides a perfect balance between fluffy YA romance and accurate sports that is easy to follow and draws you into the game play and leaves you cheering on to the very end.

The characters are well-written, complex, and representative of the world we live in today and the real life issues we face in society. Liv’s sister is the unwitting recipient of a homophobic slur and her mother is dealing with the effects of aggressive terminal cancer. Instead of shying away from these uncomfortable topics, Henning provides the reader with real emotions and heartfelt interactions, which creates something deeper than the traditional high school drama. There is a cast of people that surround the main character that support and guide her, but are still realistic. The role of supportive best friend goes to Addie, a fellow softball player, who despite her new love interest, has Liv’s back 100%. It is common in books that the author makes characters choose between their friends and their love interests, but Henning allows the protagonist to exist independently of these forces and this is something we need more of in our fiction and our world.

Sarah Henning has me completely converted to not only the YA contemporary genre, but also the sports fiction genre. Throw Like A Girl is fun, compelling, exciting, and most importantly, a real story which describes the world of elite high school sports combined with a friends to lovers romance. It was a genuine and refreshing story that was a perfect introduction to the world of contemporary… I couldn’t put it down!
Profile Image for ♛Vanessa♛ Fangirl Faction.
790 reviews582 followers
February 11, 2020
3.5/5 Stars

This is the kind of story that you read and can't help thinking that it would make a great movie. This is an adorable little dramedy that ticks off all the boxes on what would make for a good book-to-screen adaptation.

While this is a story that I enjoyed, it did not blow me away. It had the mechanics for a mind-blowing story but I think that either some of it was lost in translation or the execution could use some work.

I enjoyed this book but I just didn't fall in love with the storytelling. It felt very impersonal to me for some reason. I think that it stems from Liv and Grey's relationship. Their relationship didn't have a lot of depth and since it's a big part of the story, I suppose it left me wanting more. The romance was cute but it didn't have that sense of importance. It definitely took side stage to the rest of the story.

The biggest part of the story felt like it was Liv's personal journey and I was totally on board for that. I think that it may have overshadowed some other parts of the story, like the romance, but it was still solid.

I really loved the plot of this story and how it was executed. I certainly would have added some more intricacy to the overall plot but the path was set up well. I loved the entire premise for this story and it really spoke to me.

The characters really had the groundwork to be amazing but in the end, I felt they could have used a little more work. The characters have depth and great backstory but they are just missing a spark. That thing that makes you want to read more about them just isn't there for the most part. The characters just fell a little flat and I honestly can't put my finger on why that is. It may be in the dialogue and the way that the characters interact with one another. Whatever the case may be, the characters just weren't that memorable. I would like to point out that this story does boast incredible female friendship as well as positive family relationships. I really loved how present the parents and family were in this story.

Overall, this was an empowering story with a very positive message. I am so glad that I read this book and I would definitely recommend it. If you are looking for a fluffy sports-centric read with a heart at its center then pick this one up.

More reviews on my blog: Novel Nerd Faction
Profile Image for Aly.
2,463 reviews
March 23, 2020
This gave me all the feels! Liv is a cool girl, she loves her family and does what needs to be done. I was proud of her for defending her sister, even though the punishment was harsh. I enjoyed seeing her join the guys and stand up for herself on the football team and the playing scenes were fun. Grey was cute, and I almost cried when he hurt Liv. What a jerk, although the ending redeemed him and was sweet.
Profile Image for Anne Clarence (The Reading Life).
178 reviews37 followers
May 11, 2021
I received a free copy for an honest review.

You know the book is bad when I had started regret reading this book one chapter in (to be honest it's more like half a chapter, but I rounded it up just for the sake of accuracy).

I was starting to have a bad feeling since the very beginning, but I still forced myself to read at least 3 chapters to make sure that I am no longer physically able to tolerate it.

I’m not shy about my enjoyment of pleasure reads, so this book's generic storyline is not the problem. There are mountains of books that have stereotypical storylines but it is still fun to read. But here’s the thing - those books are still good - Really good actually. That’s because even those storylines are generic, they are written in a non-cringy and awkward narrative, making it very entertaining and actually NOT painful to read (emphasize on painful).

Also, what is the deal with Liv? Last time I checked, she is in high school - (almost graduating if I remember correctly, she's a senior or junior?). So can someone please explain to me why her narration sounds exactly like it's straight out of a middle school novel? I came into this book never expecting it to even be the best book I've read this week, but it still managed to take my expectations and smack me across the face with it.

Read completed review here.
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,460 reviews182 followers
July 21, 2020
3.5 Stars

Now that was a pleasant surprise! I’m not going to lie people, the title didn’t fill me with optimism. Post reading I still don’t like the title as I know that some YA Readers will make quite a few assumptions about the storyline based on it. They might be expecting a cheesy love story and an uplifting book that shows us all that ‘girls can do anything’ *said in a cheerleader voice whilst shaking my pom poms*.

What they will actually get is a story about an exceptionally talented and driven sportswoman working towards earning a softball scholarship by being successful in the male dominated game of football AND a story about not accepting homophobia AND a story about making good decisions in uncomfortable situations AND a story of young men dealing with the superior sports skills of a young woman AND a cutesy love story. None of the issues are explored in any huge depth but enough to make it a meaningful read.

Caution: There are detailed descriptions of game plays. You have been warned.
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,327 reviews231 followers
January 10, 2020
Though her reasoning was solid, Liv should not have thrown that punch, or as she liked to call it, "the punch heard round the world." She acted impulsively, and now, she might have lost everything. But, she had a plan. She was going to prove, that she could be a leader, a teammate, and someone who could be relied on. With the help of the current QB, and support from some likely and unlikely sources, Liv was ready to set her plan in motion.

This was pretty much love at first page for me. Henning immediately immersed me in Liv's world, and her head, giving me keen insight into who this young woman was. I knew right then and there, that I was #TeamLiv. Throughout the story, I saw how dedicated Liv was to so many things. She sacrificed for her team and family, and she constantly pushed herself to her physical and mental limits. Drive and determination are things I admire about many elite level athletes, and Liv had a seemingly limitless supply of both.

Aside from Liv, there were many other things I loved about this story, but three stood out: sports, family and friends, and romance.

I have a unending love for sports books. Oddly enough, as a non-sporty-sport, I get frustrated, when the book features no actual sports play. That was not a problem with Throw Like a Girl. Not only did I get to attend some championship softball games, I also got to monitor Liv's progress via her grueling workouts, and catch some of her football games. I read Henning's bio, and was not surprised to discover, that she was a sportswriter, because she did an incredible job bringing me into the action and excitement of a game, the pain and suffering of injury, and the agony of defeat.

However, I am not sure Liv would have survived her season as QB without the love and support of her family, friends, and community. Liv really did have a wonderful family, and though they were dealing with a LOT, and maybe didn't have as much as they needed in terms of material things, they had so much love, and this was evident throughout the story. Sharing moments with Liv and her brother, as well as with her whole family, brought me so much joy. These were some very special moments, and I am glad Henning gave them to me. Liv also had a stellar best friend, and the support of her teammates. I was glad Henning didn't go the sexist route, and have the team resist her as QB. It was actually refreshing to see a female in a male dominated sport being respected for her skill, instead of opposed because of her sex.

And, the romance. Grey was a great and swoon-worthy love interest for Liv. They were such a power couple, and I really enjoyed watching their friendship blossom. I wouldn't say I was a fan of some of the drama encountered by these two, but I did like the pairing, and watching them grow and change together was fantastic for me.

Overall: This was the feel-good story I was looking for. I wholeheartedly rooted for Liv, as she fought for the the people and things she loved, while also finding her way back to herself. Henning delivered the perfect balance of drama, romance, and sports, which left me feeling like I, myself, had won a championship.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Jessica *The Lovely Books*.
1,212 reviews615 followers
December 21, 2019
I’ve always loved the saying “throw like a girl”. People say it as an insult; but I liked to take it as a compliment. That meaning has no merit in terms of trying to put down a woman because she isn’t as “strong” as her male counterpart. Instead, I’d like to think of it as meaning you’re badass and why the hell wouldn’t you want to throw like a girl? Being one is AMAZING!

That was the attitude that our main character, Liv, has. She’s an amazing athlete and she knows her worth—I loved her immediately. But she gets into some trouble at the start of the book, which causes her to get suspended from the team and lose her scholarship. Therefore, she ends up going to another school, the school that she punched a girl at no less, and has to earn her way on the softball team. She’ll do this by showing she can be a team player.

Enter football. What better way to show you’re a team player than by playing one of the most brutal sports in the world!? The star quarterback, Grey, sees Liv messing around while she’s throwing a football with her brother. It’s there he recruits her to be the second string quarterback. It’s also where sparks start to fly between the two. Have I mentioned that her ex boyfriend is also on the team?!

I thought this was such a fun read about sports. Girl in sports, to be more exact. What I loved most about the book was the relationship between friends and family. The closeness between Liv and her siblings is what it’s all about! It made me love an appreciate my siblings more. The romance wasn’t too shabby either! If you’re in need of a light read featuring a tough heroine and an equally kindhearted (and very cute!) hero, this is for you.

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are subjective but my own.
Profile Image for K..
3,540 reviews999 followers
November 15, 2022
Trigger warnings: physical violence, parent with cancer, lying, mentions of car accident, medical emergency

I had essentially zero expectations going into this. And it was extremely fucking cute. Essentially, Liv has lost her sports scholarship at a private school and she's having to try and prove herself at her public school in order to get a place on the softball team. So when the quarterback ropes her into being his back up, she figures she may as well give it a shot. Also, he's hot.

I know literally nothing about American football, and it definitely had some Mary Sue vibes in that she's instantly better at football than the dudes who've been playing football for a decade. But I didn't even care because it was so stinking cute.

All of that being said, the whole "my mom has cancer" side of the story essentially felt irrelevant other than as an excuse to have her 25 year old sister and sister-in-law in the story constantly.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
518 reviews255 followers
December 14, 2019
I was really looking forward to this book, even though I don't read YA contemporary much anymore, because I'm a huge football fan, and the idea of a girl playing QB really drew me in. Overall, I thought this was cute, and I don't regret reading it. I do think it has proven that YA contemporary isn't really my thing anymore. The writing could be a little cheesy at times, but my biggest problem was probably the pacing. The overall timeline of the book just felt a little off somehow. I found myself wanting more of the story. When it ended in the place that it did, I was like wait, we're ending HERE? The relationship also kinda felt like it went a little fast, but maybe that's just a high school relationship for you? I did find myself enjoying both Liv and Grey together, though. I also really appreciated how much Liv's family was a part of her and the story. Most importantly, this book had me rooting her, and here team on, which is always what you want in sports.
Profile Image for Marieke | Marieke's Books.
529 reviews117 followers
February 18, 2020
Dit was zo'n fijne contemporary YA! Voor dit boek moet je wel een beetje kennis van sporten hebben, want er worden nogal veel sporttermen gebruikt en daardoor kwam ik niet helemaal lekker in het verhaal. Maar Grey en Liv waren heel toffe personages en ik vond het erg leuk om over hun leven te lezen.
Profile Image for USOM.
2,274 reviews189 followers
January 10, 2020
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I didn't plan on reading Throw Like a Girl in one day, but I couldn't stop reading. The story is gripping and not in an anxiety provoking way, but in a, "these characters are precious I need to know what happens" way. Throw Like a Girl is heart warming. Henning is able to maintain a fabulous balance between topics of homophobia, college dreams, and romantic tension. It's about wanting to protect the ones we love from all the things swirling in the air that can hurt them. At the same time, Throw Like a Girl is a story about loyalty, truth, and protection.

In a blink of an eye, a decision can make a splash that sends ripples out to all we touch. Liv's fight changes her life. Used to being a star, Liv relocates to a new school where even her chances of playing softball, and going to college, are in jeopardy. Enter Grey and his plan to have Liv join the football team, just until he's recovered. And so begins a story with chemistry and fabulous characters. They were what kept me reading. Whether it was Liv's relationship with her brother or her best friend Addie, I loved every one of the side characters.

full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/blog...
Profile Image for Sara (A Gingerly Review).
2,672 reviews154 followers
January 7, 2020
Super quick read. Excellent choice if you need or want a fluffy romcom


If you are looking for a super quick, fluffy rom com type book – you are in LUCK! This is the type of book you could easily start and finish in one afternoon. I’m still learning that not all sports-based books are bad. They are not normally my “go to” type setting but if written/developed/executed right, they are fun to read. I am happy to say that this was done right.

The story circles around Liv, a high school softball star that is kicked out of her private school for fighting during a softball game. She is forced to start school at a neighboring rival where she hopes she can jump right back into playing softball. That isn’t the case as the softball coach wants Liv to prove herself as a team player. Heartbroken, Liv decides to go for another team sport. Out of nowhere she is approached by the football quarterback with a proposition – join football as the new QB since he is out on medical. Can Liv do it? Can she prove that as a girl she has what it takes to play football while proving to the new coach she can be a team player?

Kind of a weak storyline, I’ll give you that, but still enjoyable to read. There were some heavier topics thrown in along the way and I do wish they had been expanded upon more: underage drinking, homophobia, anger management issues, and misogyny. These topics are incredibly serious but they felt like they were sprinkled throughout the story to help it along. That never sets well with me. The author had the perfect platform to talk about these serious topics but instead it was about Liv crushing on the cute and popular quarterback.

There was no depth of any kind with the story. What you read is what you go. There was no earth shattering realization, there was no huge character arc, there was not a lot of character growth or development. Everything that happened to Liv to help her get back into softball felt convenient. She just so happened to be spotted playing football with her little brother and she just so happened to be recruited for the team. Then she just so happened to be a natural at the sport. After that, she just so happened to be able to make the right decisions on how to manage/lead the football team. There is such a thing as too much and things like this throughout the story felt like too much. There is no way anything remotely close to this could happen in real life.

I’ll say it again – overall it was a quick read. Did I enjoy it? Enough to finish the book. Would I recommend it? I know some readers will be swooning over this in no time, but sadly I was not one of those readers.
Profile Image for Sarah Henning.
Author 14 books1,416 followers
December 3, 2019
🙌It’s preorder prize time!!!🙌 From now until January 7, if you preorder Throw Like a Girl 🏈⚾️💪💋and input your information and a copy of your receipt to https://www.sarahhenningwrites.com/pr... you can get:

- A signed bookplate📚
- A pink “Don’t Leave the Awesome at Home” sticker (limited edition - first 100 preorders only)💞
- A double-sided postcard featuring the covers of Throw Like a Girl and The Princess Will Save You😍

Your preorder also enters to you win a grand prize package that includes of all of the above plus:
-A personalized, signed copy of Throw Like a Girl🏈
-A super girl floating bookshelf💪
-An “I Totally Got This” journal💯
-A “Strength” crimson red crystal necklace designed to inspire “energetic courage, strength and confidence”❤️
-An advanced reader copy (ARC) of The Princess Will Save You (not in bookstores until July 7, 2020)👸

That’s right, fantasy friends, if you want to be among the first to get a physical ARC of The Princess Will Save You, this is how to do it. 👸Now, back to football: for those of you who want signed, personalized copies, please see my official supplier for such things, @raven_book_store. 🏈Not only is it an amazing small business with some really knowledgeable booksellers and adorable cats but they ship all over the United States. And, every preorder at the Raven is guaranteed one of my limited edition stickers🙌
Profile Image for Cassi.
35 reviews7 followers
February 6, 2020
I'm not sure if this was just a case of right book right time, but I really loved this book! I read it in a day because I couldn't put it down. I loved all of the characters. I loved that Liv began playing quarterback, and all of the boys just accepted it and supported her when they realized she had talent. I loved Liv's family Danielle, Heather, Ryan, her mom and dad. I loved Grey and even her ex Jake. I really loved Addie. This book promised Friday Night Lights, and while the plot definitely differed to some degree, there is a lot of time spent on the team dynamics, high school athletes training and making state runs, and of course time spent underneath the Friday night lights. I'd say it's Friday Night Lights with a feminist spin. This book was honestly like a breath of fresh air after some of my reads so far this year. I would definitely read this again because I enjoyed the experience so much!
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