Top 5 Saturday: Books About Competition

Welcome to Top 5 Saturday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by Devouring Books, and this week’s challenge focuses on books about competition.

I don’t read a lot of sports books, but I actually managed to think of several books I’ve read that revolve around competition in some way! Very few of them actually have to do with sports, so it was fun to think of other ways to approach this prompt. Here are the five books I came up with!

1. “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the  1936 Berlin Olympics: Brown, Daniel James: 9780670025817: Books
  • Genre: Narrative Nonfiction

This was the first book I thought of when trying to put together a list of books about competition. It’s such an inspiring story about teamwork, determination, and optimism. I knew nothing about rowing going into this and was nervous that it wouldn’t interest me, but it’s such a compelling and memorable story. It has stuck with me ever since I finished it.

You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

2. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games (9780439023481): Collins, Suzanne: Books
  • Genre: YA Science Fiction

One of my all-time favorites!! I’m actually surprised this one wasn’t the first book I thought of for this. I think I was kind of stuck on this being a “sports” prompt at first, but The Hunger Games is without a doubt a book about competition! A grueling and disturbing competition in which children fight to the death. I’ve read this series four times (once before each movie came out), and even own a copy of the series in Spanish (I’m hoping to read them at some point!). It’s my go-to read when I need something comforting and familiar, and it’s a powerful story that largely revolves around competition.

You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

3. “You Should See Me in a Crown” Leah Johnson You Should See Me in a Crown (9781338503265): Johnson, Leah:  Books
  • Genre: YA Fiction

I feel like I’ve written about this one a lot lately, but that’s because it was amazing and I think about it a lot! The competition featured in this story is about the competition to become elected as “Prom Queen,” and it’s quite a contentious process! It was so different than anything I ever experienced in school, and it was fun to see this common high school experience presented in such a competitive and compelling way!

You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

4. “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - Paperback Book - The Parent  Store
  • Genre: Realistic Fiction (Middle-grade)

I read this book for the first time last summer! I can’t believe I didn’t read it when I was a kid. I did see the movie, however, and it was the first movie I can remember that made me cry. It’s so heartbreaking in both book- and movie-format. While this one doesn’t feature competition as heavily as the others on the list, one of the most prominent goals of the main character is to be the fastest kid in his grade. He spends a lot of time training and racing in a competition during recess. But his plans are thwarted when the new girl in school shows up and runs faster than everyone else! While I wouldn’t say this is the most important or even memorable part of the plot, it is something that’s really important to the character development throughout the story.

You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

5. “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One: A Novel: Cline, Ernest: 8601400490631: Books
  • Genre: Science Fiction

I also read this one in 2020 (I’m just now realizing three out of five of these were read within the last year!), and this one has a very obvious focus on competition in the plot. Side note: I have seen the movie version of this one and it’s not nearly as good as the book. In the book, the competition embedded within this virtual reality game (or way of life, really) is very compelling and meaningful to the main character. Even though I may not have understood the majority of the 80s references, I still really enjoyed it!

You can find the Goodreads synopsis HERE.

Have you read any of these books? What would your top five be?

Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Saturday: Books About Competition

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