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Fast Girls

by Elise Hooper

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18417150,995 (3.93)2
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

"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.

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Amazing book!
I knew a little about the struggles of women in the Olympics, and should have known the struggles of "colored" people in the Olympics. This historical fiction book shed light on just how difficult it was for anyone other than a white male to compete in the Olympics decades ago.
As a runner, I can't imagine putting every ounce of effort, time, and determination into qualifying for the Olympics only to be turned away right before the event. If you read the book, you'll know what I'm referring to.
I spent as much time Googling the characters as I did reading the book because I felt so invested in their real-life stories. Wonderful, thorough research by the author makes these characters fully dimensional to the reader. I highly recommend this book!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book. ( )
  JillHannah | Nov 20, 2023 |
3.5 stars ( )
  CarolHicksCase | Mar 12, 2023 |
This book was a great read. The story follows three women all with one dream - make the Olympic team as runners. The book crosses over as you follow each of the women’ stories starting in July 1928 through the Olympic Games in 1936. The story was engaging and at times uncomfortable as you read what these women went through to follow their dreams. The last ten chapters were heart pounding and interesting as the characters met Hitler and the situations they found themselves in. Great historical novel about the 1936 Olympics, one I didn’t know much about. ( )
  dabutkus | Sep 4, 2022 |
Fast Girls tells the story of the 1936 US women's olympic athletics team, a timely historical fiction novel given we have just watched the Beijing Olympics last month. The story actually begins with the 1928 women's athletics team and continues on to the 1932 team before getting to the main storyline. The athletes featured in the book are from real life. Betty Robinson, Helen Stephens and Babe Dickrickson are the best known. I was surprised that several of these women were from the Chicago south suburbs. I grew up there and loved seeing news articles from a local high school. What surprised me was that the school was integrated.

Half of the book covers the 1928 and 1932 Olympics. The last half deals with the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany. Louise Stokes was black and not welcome in the Third Reich but none of the others really were either. Because these Americans were expected to win gold, their German hosts did their best to tire them with activities. Their rooms were also rather cold. Helen had a meeting with Hitler that terrified her. She wrote in her diary that he groped her in front of a group of people and wanted to see her privately. Her coach led her to safety. I was astonished that the host country's leaders would behave in this manner. However, haven't we all recently read how the Chinese government publicly excoriated American athletes of Chinese descent? The athletes were told that they should have competed for China. Nathan Chen was told by government leaders to leave China after his gold medal skate. He refused.

The novel covers many races that these ladies participated in over an eight year time span. While there is alot of political drama, Fast Girls is basically a sports story. ( )
  Violette62 | Mar 5, 2022 |
I enjoyed most of the book, although it was a little difficult to keep track of who was who during the chapter changes. ( )
  Wren73 | Mar 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

"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.

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