Fast Girls
by Hooper, Elise


&;Fast Girls is a compelling, thrilling look at what it takes to be a female Olympian in pre-war America...Brava to Elise Hooper for bringing these inspiring heroines to the wide audience they so richly deserve.&;&;Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Romantics and The House Girl

Acclaimed author Elise Hooper explores the gripping, real life history of female athletes, members of the first integrated women&;s Olympic team, and their journeys to the 1936 summer games in Berlin, Nazi Germany. Perfect for readers who love untold stories of amazing women, such as The Only Woman in the Room, Hidden Figures, and The Lost Girls of Paris.

In the 1928 Olympics, Chicago&;s Betty Robinson competes as a member of the first-ever women&;s delegation in track and field. Destined for further glory, she returns home feted as America&;s Golden Girl until a nearly-fatal airplane crash threatens to end everything.

Outside of Boston, Louise Stokes, one of the few black girls in her town, sees competing as an opportunity to overcome the limitations placed on her. Eager to prove that she has what it takes to be a champion, she risks everything to join the Olympic team.

From Missouri, Helen Stephens, awkward, tomboyish, and poor, is considered an outcast by her schoolmates, but she dreams of escaping the hardships of her farm life through athletic success. Her aspirations appear impossible until a chance encounter changes her life.

These three athletes will join with others to defy society&;s expectations of what women can achieve. As tensions bring the United States and Europe closer and closer to the brink of war, Betty, Louise, and Helen must fight for the chance to compete as the fastest women in the world amidst the pomp and pageantry of the Nazi-sponsored 1936 Olympics in Berlin. 

*Starred Review* Hooper (The Other Alcott, 2017) celebrates three unheralded female athletes in a tale spanning three Olympiads: 1928 Amsterdam, when the first women's delegation competed in track and field; 1932 Los Angeles, when runners of color were unjustly left out of competition; and 1936 Berlin, when Jesse Owens outshone all other American athletes. Betty Robinson, Louise Stokes, and Helen Stephens have different backgrounds and challenges but a shared talent: running like the wind. Betty is a classic golden girl and the first female gold-medal winner in track and field, but is nearly killed in a plane crash just weeks before the 1932 games. Louise is the oldest daughter in a poor black family, leaving school to help support her younger siblings. Helen is an awkward farm girl with few prospects until a local track coach sees her potential. Each makes her own way to excellence, making history along the way. Social commentary is provided by fictitious news articles written with period-typical condescending awe that these women could accomplish these feats. For fans of Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat (2015), historical fiction about real people, and stories about little-known female heroes breaking through barriers.Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020 Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

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