Bubbly, blond Krista Brown is pretty and popular. Her sister, Charlie, is more interested in braving the Malibu waves than the halls of the school that Krista rules. but when Krista and Charlie are both recruited to the school's soccer team, they are forced to face their differences. Can these two sisters become teammates, and friends, in time to make it to the championships? Goodreads
Review - Charlie and Krista are polar opposites but their sphere's never really crossed...until now. Soccer is the background of this title as the sisterly disconnect takes centre stage. The Brown sisters loathe one another and carry their baggage onto the team - putting the team above petty contrivances becomes key.
A fellow blogger commented recently that there is a dearth of athlete protagonists in YA and because of this these sisters are a welcomed change. We often see many shallow cheerleaders but not many examples of girls working their tails off for sporting success. PrettyTOUGH really shows the endurance required to be successful in the pursuit of sporting glory. Tigelaar managed to make soccer both exciting and accessible - two things I would never have imaged for me and soccer.
Using alternating perspectives, the reader sees the physical lengths the Brown sisters will go to to make the team. We are also privy to the mental barriers that exist and prevent them from being good teammates and true sisters. The writing doesn't declare itself, it is there to create a world to service the story. The story is great - there's emotional resonance, snappy dialogue and clearly defined motivations for each of the sisters.
The progress and regression of the sister's relationship is nicely supported by the friendships they have within the team. It is a welcome change to see a bunch of well developed female characters be friends in a nuanced and authentic way.
Soccer, family, dedication, perseverance, friendship and the occasional snog make for a great read.
Format: Paperback, 256 pages