The Beautiful Game

by Yamile Saied Méndez

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A powerful story about family, fútbol, and playing like a girl, perfect for fans of Front Desk, The Academy, and, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret from the award-winning author of Furia.

At thirteen years old, Valeria "Magic" Salomón is already the best soccer player her town has ever seen. She has talent in...

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Published By Algonquin Young Readers

Format Hardback


Number Of Pages 336

Publication Date 09/17/2024

ISBN 9781643753980

Dimensions 5.95 inches x 8.65 inches

"The wonderfully wide-ranging story will appeal to readers both inside the sports sphere and not, and it touches on an incredible variety of topics, all treated with equal importance. Complicated, caring family dynamics and gorgeous friendships that overcome the bumps of adolescence are beautiful to behold. There are also thought-provoking meditations on grief, the immigrant experience, and gendered-sports struggles. Frank (and often funny) discussions of menstruation and period products are another welcome inclusion. An emotional and engaging examination of the fundamentals: family, friendship, and fútbol."

— Booklist, starred review

"This tough and resilient protagonist is easy to root for as she talks her way onto a girls’ soccer team, despite having missed the tryouts. The narrative and action flow smoothly as Magic nervously navigates friendships with girls on her new team, adjusts to having a coach who prioritizes teamwork over relying on a hotshot, and navigates changing family dynamics at home. Fast paced and tenderhearted."

— Kirkus Reviews

"Méndez (Furia) fluidly combines the challenges of growing up and the pressure of elite athletic competition in this winning novel."

— Publishers Weekly

Méndez weaves Magic into this brilliant book. Middle grade writing at its best!

Fun, relatable, and genuine. Méndez laces up her cleats and brilliantly captures the emotional rollercoaster that is adolescence. This gem of a book will have you cheering from start to finish—a true game-changer.

“This is a story of girl power from the inside out.”

The Beautiful Game will have you cheering. The perfect story for anyone who has ever felt scared of showing up as their full selves.

The Beautiful Game is a beautiful coming of age story. I couldn’t put it down.

Fútbol fans, rejoice! Yamile Saied Méndez scores the winning goal with this heartfelt story of a young girl learning about herself, her family, and her friends. Lace up your cleats and get ready to cheer for Valeria!

The Beautiful Game is pitch perfect! In this heartwarming tale, fútbol isn't just a game—it's a way of life.

Tender and true, this story has all the sparkle and shine of a modern classic.

A story like the best of fútbol games — full of surprising turns, well-earned triumphs, and people you can't help rooting for. Yamile Méndez writes the same way that Valeria plays her sport: with her whole, huge heart.

Spunky and spirited, Valeria “Magic” Salomón, will win your heart when she discovers the beauty of trusting her team, her family, and, most importantly, herself!

For fans of the beautiful game and beautiful family stories, readers will root for Magic. An absolute winner!

A lovely tale about different kinds of love: love for a sport, love between friends and love, however complicated, within families.

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