Originally published in 1995, Madeleine Blais’ In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle is a modern sports writing classic. Expanded and updated with a new epilogue, Blais’ book tells the story of a season in the life of the Amherst Lady Hurricanes a girls’ high school basketball team from the Western Massachusetts college town. The Hurricanes were a talented team with a near-perfect record, but for five straight years, when it came to the crunch of the playoffs, they somehow lacked the desire to go all the way. Now, led by senior guards Jen Pariseau, a three-point specialist, and Jamila Wideman, an All-American phenom, this was the year to prove themselves. It was a season to test their passion for the sport and their loyalty to each other, and a chance to discover who they really were.
As an off-season of summer jobs and basketball camps turns to fall, as students arrive and the games begin, Blais charts the ups and downs of the team and paints a portrait of the wider Amherst community, which comes to revel in the athletic exploits of their girls. Finally, a women’s team was getting the attention they deserve. And the Hurricanes were richly deserving; these teenage girls are fierce and funny, smart and ambitious, and they are the heart of this gripping book.