Sunday Money

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Published by: She Writes Press
Release Date: May 14, 2024
Pages: 256
ISBN13: 978-1647426569


It's 1971, but for Claire Joyce and girls’ basketball, it might as well be 1871. Stilted rules (three-bounce dribbling, two roving players for full-court games, and uniforms that include bloomers) set their play unfairly apart from the boys’ basketball Claire’s older brother John has trained her in.

Basketball is the only constant in Claire's life, and as she enters her teen years the skills she’s cultivated on the court—passing, shooting, and faking—help her guard against the chaos of an alcoholic mother, an increasingly violent younger brother, and the downward spiral her beloved John soon finds himself unable to climb out of. Deeply cut from the cloth of the Catholic Church, Brooklyn’s working class, and the limited expectations her world has for girls, Claire strives to find a mirror that might reflect a different, future self. Then Title IX bounces on the scene. Suddenly, girls’ basketball becomes explosive, musical, passionate, and driven—and if Claire plays it just right, it just might offer a full ride to a previously out-of-reach college.

Sunday Money follows Claire as she narrates her way through 1970s Brooklyn, hustling on and off the court and striving to break free of the turmoil in her home and the rulebook “good” girls are supposed to follow.

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Sunday Money is a novel that speaks to how the present is coaxed into being on the tribulations of the past. So well written, sharply paced, and all at once literary and colloquial both, Maggie Hill brings us a story that resonates as much today as it would have done a half-century ago. Young readers will find in here the essential themes and dilemmas of American life, finely detailed and uniquely honest.”
–Colum McCann, National Book Award winning author, Let the Great World Spin

“[SUNDAY MONEY] succeeds in illuminating a girl’s life and passion, which is not a typical one. It feels like a good time for a character like this!”
–Amy Hempel, author of  The Collected Stories

“Powerful, lyrical, confident writing filled with telling details, pitch perfect dialogue. I know these characters because the voice is so believable, strong, and honest.”
–Denis Hamill, journalist, screenwriter, producer, novelist

“A crisp chest pass to the heart, Sunday Money will compel students to keep reading, especially athletic girls, who might not know that before Title Nine, girls basketball leagues played a modified, half-court version of the sport, unfairly cordoned off into the smaller gyms of Catholic Brooklyn middle schools while the boys teams had the big gyms, the full court game and the spectators. The fast moving novel’s spunky narrator negotiates the perils of growing up from middle school to just before college by using her no-nonsense Irish-American survivor’s voice, that curses out the authorities who humiliate her publicly (but only silently, on the way home, to herself). She is a yearning bundle of uncomfortable family life who chooses schoolyard hoops sweat over a more popular Prospect Park drug addled haze.
–Stephen Mounkhall, Scarsdale Public Schools

“I will never forget that mom walking into the prison for the rest of my life. Superb.”
–Sara Woster, author of Painting Can Save Your Life


Basketball is civilized. There are rules, boundaries, time periods. It’s about speed and accuracy. There’s also the magic of it – seeing the whole court, concentrating, expecting the unexpected. It’s eyes in the back of your head, legs crouching and flexing, dancing to the rhythm of a pounding leather ball.

And when there’s nobody else on the court, only you and the basket, it’s like a communion with an open net, ready to take your throw. The best kind of lonely. Being watched over, understood, loved even.

I sound like a nut. Just do your job.