cover image Dangerous Play

Dangerous Play

Emma Kress. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-75048-8

It’s Zoe Alamandar’s junior year, and she’s hoping that the players she and her cocaptain Ava recruited over the summer will finally take their Syracuse high school’s field hockey team to States. The season starts promisingly, but after Zoe, who cues as white, is sexually assaulted, she loses her focus. Feeling helpless and angry, she and her intersectionally diverse teammates, many of whom are also survivors, use their athletic skills to fight back, sneaking into parties to attack and scare off any boy who attempts to assault a girl. When things go too far, though, and the team’s sisterhood begins to strain, Zoe must decide if this tack is the right path to recovery. Debut author Kress nimbly alternates between heart-pounding field hockey scenes and social commentary, acknowledging, unlike many books about rape culture, that classism and racism intersect with and compound misogyny. If the narrative sometimes comes uncomfortably close to equating the girls’ vigilantism with their attackers’ sexual violence, it also renders Zoe’s trauma unflinchingly and compassionately, making this a worthwhile look at sexism and the healing power of speaking out—as well as a passionate love letter to an underappreciated sport. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Roseanne Wells, Jennifer De Chiara Literary. (Aug.) [/em]