53 books like Young Woman and the Sea

By Glenn Stout,

Here are 53 books that Young Woman and the Sea fans have personally recommended if you like Young Woman and the Sea. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of We Ride Upon Sticks

Marsheila Rockwell Author Of Sisters of Sorcery

From my list on contemporary fantasy about witches.

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned to read when I was three and the first book I remember reading was Ozma of Oz, which featured some great witches (even though they weren’t called that). I’ve been fascinated by women using magic to change the world around them ever since, and books about witches have remained a staple of my reading diet. As an adult, I learned more about the theory and practice of witchcraft and even spent some time in a coven. These days, I guess you’d call me more of a hedgewitch; I maintain no formal practice, just try to live in “a good way” like my Ojibwe ancestors taught.

Marsheila's book list on contemporary fantasy about witches

Marsheila Rockwell Why did Marsheila love this book?

YA books about witches promise teen angst, magic, and mayhem, and Barry’s book does not disappoint.

One thing that really makes Barry’s book stand out is the unique POV she uses. The girls on the 1989 Danvers High School Women’s Varsity Field Hockey Team sign their names in a notebook, initiating a spell to make their team finally start winning.

After that, they become a new entity, which is both all of them and something else entirely – the winning team. Or is it?

Barry’s POV places us in the minds of all the girls at the same time, but instead of being confusing, it makes the magic come to life on the page. GenXers (like me) who were in sports/music programs will particularly enjoy this one.

By Quan Barry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Ride Upon Sticks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the town of Danvers, Massachusetts, home of the original 1692 witch trials, the 1989 Danvers Falcons will do anything to make it to the state finals—even if it means tapping into some devilishly dark powers.

Against a background of irresistible 1980s iconography, Quan Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective progress of this enchanted team as they storm their way through an unforgettable season.
 
Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza (whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all), the Falcons prove to be wily,…


Book cover of A Team of Their Own: How an International Sisterhood Made Olympic History

Elise Hooper Author Of Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women's Olympic Team

From my list on inspirational women athletes.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novels explore women whose contributions to culture have been relegated to the footnotes of mainstream history books, and in few areas have women been more overlooked than in sports. Because of the achievements of today’s female athletes, ranging from the many athletic opportunities available to our young daughters to the professional success of women like Serena Williams, it’s easy to think that progress for women’s sports has come a long way—and in many ways, it has, thanks to legislative protections like Title IX—but these achievements reflect over a century’s worth of sacrifice by many unheralded women athletes. Here are five books that highlight this journey.

Elise's book list on inspirational women athletes

Elise Hooper Why did Elise love this book?

A couple of weeks before the 2018 Olympics opened in Pyeongchang, an unlikely women’s South Korean hockey team hastily took shape. Why unlikely? Its roster, bolstered with women of Korean descent from the United States and Canada, suddenly added players from North Korea. Like most sports books, this isn’t really about sports; it’s about identity, belonging, sisterhood, and culture. Miracles on ice can take many forms.

By Seth Berkman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Team of Their Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A December Stephen Curry Book Club Pick

One of ESPN’s 25 Can’t Miss Books of 2019

“A feel-good story.”—New York Times Book Review

“This isn’t simply a sports book. Rather, it’s a book about inspiring and courageous women who just happened to be hockey players.”—Korea Times

The inspiring, unlikely story of the American, Canadian, South Korean and even North Korean women who joined together to form Korea’s first Olympic ice hockey team.

Two weeks before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korea’s women’s hockey team was forced into a predicament that no president, ambassador or general had…


Book cover of The Happiest Girl in the World

Elise Hooper Author Of Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women's Olympic Team

From my list on inspirational women athletes.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novels explore women whose contributions to culture have been relegated to the footnotes of mainstream history books, and in few areas have women been more overlooked than in sports. Because of the achievements of today’s female athletes, ranging from the many athletic opportunities available to our young daughters to the professional success of women like Serena Williams, it’s easy to think that progress for women’s sports has come a long way—and in many ways, it has, thanks to legislative protections like Title IX—but these achievements reflect over a century’s worth of sacrifice by many unheralded women athletes. Here are five books that highlight this journey.

Elise's book list on inspirational women athletes

Elise Hooper Why did Elise love this book?

In this novel that feels ripped straight from the headlines, the life of a young woman training as an elite gymnast is upended when her best friend confides that their doctor has assaulted her. Not only is this story timely, but it provides a glimpse into the mind-boggling discipline and talent it takes to be an Olympic gymnast.

By Alena Dillon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Happiest Girl in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Propulsive, transfixing, and disturbing. I could not set the book down. Harrowing and fearlessly honest, The Happiest Girl in the World is a haunting read because it couldn't have done justice to its subjects - fictional and real - any other way." -Popsugar

One of Good Morning America's Best Books of April!

From the acclaimed author of Mercy House comes a gripping new novel about a young woman's dreams of Olympic gymnastic gold-and what it takes to reach the top

For Sera Wheeler, the Olympics is the reason for everything. It's why she trains thirty hours a week, starves herself…


Book cover of Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story

Elise Hooper Author Of Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women's Olympic Team

From my list on inspirational women athletes.

Why am I passionate about this?

My novels explore women whose contributions to culture have been relegated to the footnotes of mainstream history books, and in few areas have women been more overlooked than in sports. Because of the achievements of today’s female athletes, ranging from the many athletic opportunities available to our young daughters to the professional success of women like Serena Williams, it’s easy to think that progress for women’s sports has come a long way—and in many ways, it has, thanks to legislative protections like Title IX—but these achievements reflect over a century’s worth of sacrifice by many unheralded women athletes. Here are five books that highlight this journey.

Elise's book list on inspirational women athletes

Elise Hooper Why did Elise love this book?

In this memoir, Wyomia Tyus tells of her journey from Georgia as a sharecropper’s daughter to how she landed a coveted spot on the Tennessee State women’s track and field team, the Tigerbelles, and her domination in Olympic sprinting during the 1960s, a reign that included three gold medals and one silver. The story of Tyus and the Tigerbelles has been likened to a sports version of Hidden Figures and the comparison is apt. Though Tyus and her teammates never graced the cover of a Wheaties box or Sports Illustrated, these African-American women became an unparalleled force in track and field, breaking barriers and setting records, and challenging the racism and sexism of their era.

By Wyomia Tyus, Elizabeth Terzakis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tigerbelle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the Track and Field Writers of America’s 2018 Armory Foundation Book Award

"Tyus proves as winning a storyteller as she was a runner...The 'a' in Wyomia is silent, but thankfully, the woman who owns that name is not."
--New York Times Book Review

"Tigerbelle offers a fresh perspective on the history of women's sports in the United States. From her one-of-a-kind accomplishments on the track to her contributions to equal pay and publicity for women through the Women's Sports Foundation, Wyomia Tyus has earned her place in the pantheon of American sports sheroes and heroes."
--Billie Jean King…


Book cover of Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer

Kathleen McDonnell Author Of Growing Old, Going Cold: Notes on Swimming, Aging, and Finishing Last

From my list on swimming for people who aren’t competitive swimmers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For most of my life I’ve been both a writer and a swimmer. I’ve engaged in both activities for many decades, but I’ve always kept the two entirely separate. Write about swimming? Why? What would I say? What was there to say about water and the act of moving through it? It seemed to me that it was a case of “you have to be there,” that writing about swimming would be too removed from the immediacy, the tactility, the floating state of mind. It was only when I discovered works by some truly great writers that I began to see that I could write about my own love of being in water, and how I might go about it.

Kathleen's book list on swimming for people who aren’t competitive swimmers

Kathleen McDonnell Why did Kathleen love this book?

Lynne Cox is one of the world’s most extraordinary distance swimmers, and she’s also a remarkable writer. In this, her first book, she writes about her emotional connection to water, her spiritual need to swim, as well as recounting the many challenges she faced in her successful crossing of the Bering Strait – not the least of which was the 38F water temperature. I was truly honored when Lynne agreed to write a testimonial for my book.

By Lynne Cox,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Swimming to Antarctica as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • In this extraordinary book, the world’s most extraordinary distance swimmer writes about her emotional and spiritual need to swim and about the almost mystical act of swimming itself.

Lynne Cox trained hard from age nine, working with an Olympic coach, swimming five to twelve miles each day in the Pacific. At age eleven, she swam even when hail made the water “like cold tapioca pudding” and was told she would one day swim the English Channel. Four years later—not yet out of high school—she broke the men’s and women’s world records for the Channel swim. In 1987,…


Book cover of Swimming for My Life: A Memoir

Liz Kinchen Author Of Light in Bandaged Places: Healing in the Wake of Young Betrayal

From my list on teenage abuse and healing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I resonate with these stories; I feel a kinship with authors of books about teen sexual abuse. My heart breaks for another innocent young person, and I am also inspired by the different ways we find healing and peace. I am so grateful for my healing journey that I want to share what helped me with others who are looking for greater peace with their struggles and scars. I am proud to join the ranks of these authors because we all shine a spotlight on the harm done by this too-common abuse of the trust and innocence of teenage girls. 

Liz's book list on teenage abuse and healing

Liz Kinchen Why did Liz love this book?

In this memoir, we meet Kim as a teen athlete and an Olympic-bound swimmer. The book shows the intense training environment of young athletes of this caliber experience, and as I read it, I was filled with both admiration and a deep uneasiness.

She’s so vulnerable to her esteemed coach, as I was to my teacher. Swimming was her life, and her coach held her future in his hands. When the inevitable grooming and seduction began, my heart sank further in outrage and sorrow. Like me, Kim finds her way out, but as with all young girls groomed and betrayed, it is not easy.

By Kim Fairley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Swimming for My Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1970s Cincinnati, Kim's overwhelmed, financially stressed parents dragged her and her four younger siblings into swimming-starting with a nearby motel pool-as a way to keep them occupied and out of their way. When Kim was eleven, they began leaving the kids at home with a sitter while they traveled the Midwest, where they sold imported wooden ornaments from their motorhome. But when Kim's six-year-old brother crashed his new Cheater Slick bike and the babysitter deserted the children, what started as an accident became a pattern: Mom and Dad leaving for weeks at a time and the kids wrestling with…


Book cover of Wild Woman Swimming: A Journal of West Country Waters

Rebecca Beattie Author Of The Wheel of the Year: Your Rejuvenating Guide to Connecting with Nature's Seasons and Cycles

From my list on to reconnect you to nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a practicing pagan, and nature writer, I write books about how to reconnect to nature, how to rediscover and connect to your inner self, and your sense of spirituality. I grew up in the wilds of a large national park (Dartmoor) and have found that this colours and shapes everything I do. I spent thirty years living and working in London, and missed Dartmoor every day I was away. Whilst living in the city I had to learn ways to connect to nature, which is how I discovered my spiritual path. I was lucky enough to stage an escape and return home at forty-seven, and have been writing about it ever since.

Rebecca's book list on to reconnect you to nature

Rebecca Beattie Why did Rebecca love this book?

I love this book as I used it as a road map of swimming adventures when I moved back home to the West Country after thirty years of living in the city.

I was faced with the challenge of not knowing where to swim, as we didn’t really go in the water when I was a child. The author visits a plethora of favourite swimming spots with a group of friends, and I felt like I was accompanying them on their trips.

I was able to use the book as a guide, to go and visit all the spots Lynne Roper mentions in her diaries, safe in the knowledge I was visiting places that people have swum in for years.

Book cover of Jabari Jumps

Jeff Mack Author Of Scaredy Cats

From my list on children’s picture books about facing your fears.

Why am I passionate about this?

If you want to live your best life, you’ll need to face some fears. I’ve faced a lot of my fears: great white sharks, sky-diving, caves, spiders, meat sauces. I’m still scared, but what else can I do? Stay in bed my whole life? I love writing and illustrating for kids. It’s how I’ve spent the last twenty years. I’ve written and/or illustrated almost fifty books. The scariest part is figuring out how to start. Thinking of an ending is scary too. Then there’s all that stuff in the middle. Ugh! My first books about facing fears were Hippo and Rabbit. Now, Scaredy Cats. Fear gives me ideas!

Jeff's book list on children’s picture books about facing your fears

Jeff Mack Why did Jeff love this book?

I feel like I lived this story as a kid. I’ll bet a lot of kids do. A young boy overcomes his fear of the high dive. 

Step by step, Gaia Cornwall takes us through Jabari’s jump. Jabari starts by telling his dad he’s not scared at all. He clearly is. He delays, makes excuses. Dad never pushes. He wants this to be Jabari’s decision, Jabari’s victory. It’s so relatable, the perspective even changes to first person once Jabari is high above the pool. 

Everything rings true. It’s exactly what a scared kid would say and do. It’s exactly what I said and did when I was Jabari’s age trying to summon my own courage on the high dive. Except when I hit the water, my swim trunks fell off.

By Gaia Cornwall,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Jabari Jumps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

In a sweet tale of overcoming your fears, debut author-illustrator Gaia Cornwall captures a moment at the swimming pool between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can't help but root for. Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He's finished his swimming lessons and passed his swimming test, and he's a great jumper, so he's not scared at all. "Looks easy," says Jabari, watching the other kids take their…


Book cover of Why We Swim

Dillon Seitchik-Reardon Author Of Places We Swim California: A Guide to the Best Rivers, Lakes, Waterfalls, Beaches, Gorges, and Hot Springs

From my list on inspire you to explore the natural world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a travel writer, photographer, and lover of wilderness. I am the co-author of three travel guides about swimming: Places We Swim Australia, Places We Swim Sydney, and my new book, listed below. Together with my wife, we write about the connection between water, wilderness, and culture. I am fascinated with how people and nature interact and change one another. All of these books and authors on my list reveal how their experiences in nature have fuelled, anchored them, and inspired their craft. 

Dillon's book list on inspire you to explore the natural world

Dillon Seitchik-Reardon Why did Dillon love this book?

My wife and I felt a kinship with Bonnie when we discovered her writing, or maybe she was just the person we wanted to be.

She is a New York Times journalist, a surfer, and a swimmer. Although she lives in San Francisco, she has spent some time living in Australia (Sydney, where we live), and she has experienced some of our local swimming spots, as well as many in California (her locals).

In this book, Bonnie artfully expresses the intangible feelings many of us feel about swimming and water and how we engage with it as humans. The best writers can articulate feelings and experiences in a way that makes you feel seen. This is one of those books for me.  

By Bonnie Tsui,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why We Swim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A fascinating and beautifully written love letter to water. I was enchanted by this book." —Rebecca Skloot, bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
 
We swim in freezing Arctic waters and piranha-infested rivers to test our limits. We swim for pleasure, for exercise, for healing. But humans, unlike other animals that are drawn to water, are not naturalborn swimmers. We must be taught. Our evolutionary ancestors learned for survival; today, swimming is one of the most popular activities in the world. Why We Swim is propelled by stories of Olympic champions, a Baghdad swim club that meets in…


Book cover of The Chronology of Water: A Memoir

Christie Tate Author Of Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life

From my list on the glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading almost exclusively memoirs and personal essays for over a decade. The women who generously wrote about their bodies—the bowels, the breasts, the bad sex—lit up the path for me when I was drowning in my own body shame and body confusion. Every year I read at least 50 memoirs, and the ones on this list are the ones I revisit over and over. I also study writing with Lidia Yuknavitch at Corporeal Writing, where I first heard six years ago that “the body has a point of view.” I love this as a writer and a reader. So much of women’s bodies and experiences has been hidden away or unstoried, but those days are coming to a close, and these writers are leading the way.

Christie's book list on the glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives

Christie Tate Why did Christie love this book?

Yuknavitch’s memoir is a gloves-off gut-punch of stories about her life as a competitive swimmer, a daughter of a tyrannical father, and an artist-in-the-making. Best of all: The sex scenes are like nothing I’ve ever read. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE.

By Lidia Yuknavitch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Chronology of Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the debris of her troubled early life, Lidia Yuknavitch weaves an astonishing tale of survival. A kind of memoir that is also a paean to the pursuit of beauty, self-expression, desire - for men and women - and the exhilaration of swimming, The Chronology of Water lays a life bare.

It is a life that navigates, and transcends, abuse, addiction, self-destruction and the crushing loss of a stillborn child. It is the life of a misfit, one that forges a fierce and untrodden path to creativity and comes together in the shape of love.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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