Bestie Book Club

What does it mean to Play Like a Girl? It's all about strength, sisterhood and never giving up

Welcome back to our Bestie Book Club—
a community for book lovers from Girls' Life magazine. 

If you're new here, hello and welcome, book lovers! Here's how this works: Each month we read, discuss and obsess over a new book so if you haven't signed up already, be sure to follow us on Instagram where you'll be able to find Bestie Book Club updates, special contests and giveaways, event invitations and more. 

Here's a quick list of everything you'll find inside this post (and beyond)....

+ Buy the Book
+ The Quick-Read Recap
+ Bestie Book Club Commentary
+ Details on how to participate

We're just going to get this out of the way: If you are among the 30 million women in the world who play soccer, buy Play Like a Girl. Trust us. Click the link, get it now, you are going to *love* it. You're welcome.

OK, everyone else: If you are among, say, the rest of the girls in the world who find themselves needing some inspo to get through the rest of this year, you're gonna *love* this book, too. Why? Because Play Like a Girl has relatable advice about achieving your dreams. It's the motivational boost you need to face *any* obstacle—a looming audition, terrifying tryout, major exam or just, well, the pressures of living life in 2020. 

Take a look at our recap below—then keep scrolling to see what our *fabulous* book besties Kameron, Kamryn, Katie, Mackenzie and Skylar had to say about why they're loving Play Like a Girl

Play Like a Girl author, athlete, photographer and all-around role model Kate T. Parker has packed her book with stunning and striking photographs that celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of female athletes. Their stories will inspire you to follow your heart, go for your dreams and to not let fear hold you back. The lessons come as fast as a breakaway sprint down the field: Play to your strengths, celebrate your body (yes!), the better team doesn't always win (oh, and always pack snacks).

And when life hands you penalty kicks? Those difficult moments are also the times to discover your inner, deeper strength. Sometimes it's strength you didn't even know you had. As professional soccer player Mandy Laddish says in Play Like a Girl, "we are with ourselves for our whole life's journey, so we have to believe in ourselves first and foremost." Trust yourself, be authentic and support others as a true team player. To us, that's what it means to play like a girl.

We caught up with amaze young athletes Skylar DunnKamryn Smith, and Kameron, Katie and Mackenzie Couch to hear *all* about the struggles and successes of their sport—and what it means to them to #PlayLikeAGirl. 

Skylar @theskylardunn

You may recognize Skylar Dunn from The Greatest Showman—but did you know she's also a triple threat athlete (lacrosse, field hockey and dance, that is)? After playing lacrosse for eight years, the 13-year-old describes herself as totally competitive out on the field and exudes confidence and comfort in who she is. "I've always been an advocate of saying that girls are strong," Skylar explains. "You take girls lacrosse and boys lacrosse—they're basically two different sports. You can't compare them. Girls are just as strong as boys (and sometimes stronger). I'm a feminist for sure." 
Team player: "There are times I wish I could score more goals in lacrosse, but I know that playing defense is my strength. I'm aggressive, so I go after the ball. If a girl is coming at me, bring it on! You win as a team and you lose as a team. Am I let down if we don't win? Of course. I'm competitive. But you support each other and move forward." 
#Determination: "I've always been a big football fan. When I was in fourth grade, I was so determined to play. My mom tried to sign me up but in my town girls aren't allowed to play tackle football. I actually wrote a letter to the local government begging them to let me play! I really wanted to prove the boys wrong. I don't know if anyone got that letter...but I'm proud I did it."
Rules to live by: "Have a confident mindset. When I was younger, it was hard for me to break out of my shell. But the thing is, no one is judging you the way you are. Nobody's thinking OMG, Skylar looks so weird. It's all in your head—so it's on you to rewrite that story you're telling yourself. You're awesome, so be proud to be you." 

Kamryn @itskamrynsmith

Kamryn Smith might only be nine years old, but her goals are major. She's danced on Dance Moms ("I'm the youngest African American dancer to ever be on the show," she shares) and spends nearly every day working hard to perfect her craft and do her best in competitions. One Play Like a Girl quote that stuck out to her? "It's always important to have my game face on—that's a standard I live by," Kamryn says. "When I'm onstage I'm all business. Once I'm off, I can be a kid again." 
Dance diva: "When I was just two years old, I saw a dance video online and asked my mom to sign me up for classes. I had no idea I'd fall in love with it so much. I'm actually pretty shy in real life, but in dance I'm a whole different person." 
Finding strength: "In dance, my biggest challenge is versatility. To take on a new genre, you have to adapt your skills quickly. It can be tough, but I love how I never get bored. There's always a new style to learn." 
Big dreams: "Beyoncé is my idol! I'd love to choreograph or dance with her someday." 

Kameron, Katie and Mackenzie @couchsisters

If you didn't already know the Couch sisters—identical twins Kameron + Katie and big sis Mackenzie—you probably should. Their unmatched passion for dance (their fave style is contemporary) has taken this talented trio from their hometown in Michigan to the California coast, where they can dance at top studios, take their technique to national competitions and show their skills (and sparkling personalities) on social media. Fun fact: The girls actually had their sports start in softball before moving to the studio! 
Bestie pro tip: "When you're posting on Insta, always make sure your story is updated. Your feed is great for cute pics, but your followers are going to go to your story to see what you're up to!" 
Keep it focused: "We spent most of our lives in the dance studio—missing friends' birthday parties, sleepovers, school events. It definitely paid off with where we are now. Normally, it's a big challenge going to the studio constantly because you just get so sore from dancing all the time. Though now with having to stay at home and so many competitions canceled, we're *wishing* to have that problem!" 
Highlight reel: Kenzie—"Making Top 10 at Radix Dance Competition. It was a total goal of mine." Katie—"Dancing with friends at competitions that I don't get to dance with day-to-day at the studio." Kameron—"Dancing with the Stars Juniors, for sure. I was one of the pro dancers. I couldn't believe I got to do something so cool." 

So you've read the book and you're ready to talk all things Play Like a Girl? Wondering *exactly* how the Bestie Book Club works and what it means to be a member? There are so many ways you can get involved—whether it's solo, on social media or with your whole squad. Here's a quick list...
+ SOLO. Take your personal reading game to the next level using the themes of sports, strength and #girlpower as a guide for your own journaling and personal reflection. If you love to read, it could be fun to start a special book diary where you keep track of all your favorite novels—and the personal musings they inspired.
+ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Share your thoughts on Play Like a Girl using the hashtag #glbestiebookclub on Twitter and Instagram. (Just remember: You have to have a public account for us to be able to see and respond to your posts!)
+ WITH YOUR SQUAD. Host an IRL (or Zoom) book club party, of course! Be sure to tag us in your snaps so we can share them.

by GL | 10/1/2020