Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women's Olympic Team (Paperback)
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE SUMMER BY POPSUGAR, FROLIC, PARADE, TRAVEL & LEISURE, SHE KNOWS, and SHE READS!
NAMED A REAL SIMPLE BEST BOOK OF 2020 (SO FAR).
“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.
About the Author
A native New Englander, Elise Hooper spent several years writing for television and online news outlets before getting an MA and teaching high-school literature and history. She now lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters. Previous novels include The Other Alcott and Learning to See.
"Fast Girls is a high-speed romp as ambitious and heart-pounding as its trio of track-star heroines...A gold medal read from Elise Hooper!"
— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
"Fast Girls is a compelling, thrilling look at what it takes to be a female Olympian in pre-war America. Rich with historical detail and brilliant story-telling, the book follows three athletes on their path to compete – and win – in a man’s world."
— Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl and The Last Romantics
"...kinetic, mesmerizing, and terrifically entertaining...A wonderful novel...it will surely appeal to anyone with an interest in the pioneering women who paved the rocky and uphill way for today’s female Olympians."
— Jennifer Robson, international bestselling author of The Gown
“...a moving novel of strength, courage, and ultimately perseverance. Expertly researched and deftly crafted...I was absolutely captivated by the lives, struggles, and triumphs of Betty, Helen and Louise.”
— Jillian Cantor, USA Today bestselling author of The Lost Letter and In Another Time
“Fast Girls is an inspiring tale. . . vibrant in its detailing and riveting in its story, and at times, I wanted to cheer. Like Louise, Helen, and Betty, I raced to the finish line. Highly recommended.”
— Heather Webb, USA Today bestselling author
"Fast Girls by Elise Hooper is my favorite type of historical novel, as it brings to light a lesser known story of incredible women...Fast Girls is rich in historical detail and so compelling, I rooted for ‘the girls’ all the way through and found the novel impossible to put down."
— Jane Healey, bestselling author of The Beantown Girls
“Fast Girls will hurl you down the track of American history and have you rooting for some of the toughest underdogs ever to aspire to Olympic gold...I couldn’t put this one down.”
— Kerri Maher, author of The Kennedy Debutante and The Girl in White Gloves
"I raced through this fast-paced novel on an exhilarating journey that begins with the humble beginnings of promising female runners and culminates in their inspiring and obstacle-filled quests for Olympic glory...Perfect for readers who want to be motivated by strong women and their pursuit of seemingly-impossible dreams."
— Susie Orman Schnall, author of The Subway Girls and We Came Here to Shine
"Hooper celebrates three unheralded female athletes in a tale spanning three Olympiads...For fans of historical fiction about real people, and stories about little-known female heroes breaking through barriers.”
— Booklist (starred review)
"Told in intricate detail, against the backdrop of a world on the brink of war, the novel shines a light on these long- overlooked athletes."
— Real Simple Magazine
"Hooper has delivered a stunning, multi-layered gem of a novel. With stark frankness, she illuminates the racism, sexism, and homophobia of the era. Yet, while the three protagonists are often victimized, they never allow themselves to become victims…Readers will be richly rewarded."
— Historical Novels Review
Praise for Learning to See: “Hooper makes me not only feel for Lange, but also wish I could call her up like her friend, Imogen [Cunningham], and tell her I’m coming over for a visit.”
Praise for Learning to See: “Hooper excels at humanizing giants...seamlessly weaving together the time, places and people in Lange’s life.... For photo buffs, reading the book will be like discovering the secret backstory of someone they thought they knew.”
— Washington Post
Praise for The Other Alcott: “Her adventures illuminate the world of intrepid female artists in the late 1800s, a milieu too little appreciated today.... The Other Alcott comes alive in its development of the relationship between Louisa and May.”
— New York Times, Sunday Review of Books