I just can't remember what it's called - Book Edition

Contributor: surreptitious surreptitious
Similarly to movies, I am an avid reader, and sometimes I can't remember the titles of everything that I read. I feel like books are more difficult to locate based on plot, even though there are some good book databases out there (some of which you can actually search by plot).

If you've ever forgotten a book that you wish to reread (or wish to suggest to others), and are determined to figure out its name, where better to start than in a huge community like Eden? Odds are that someone here has read what you're talking about, and even if you only remember a few details, it might be possible for them to figure out what you mean when you say "you know, that one with the girl who turns out to be a pixie."

Be aware that there may be spoilers in this thread. If you think that you know the book that someone is referencing, feel free to ask a few questions to see if you're right, or simply leave a title!
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Contributor: surreptitious surreptitious
One book that I've been trying to find for YEARS was a science fiction book that I read once, really liked and have been meaning to read again since my early teens. It has to be at least eight or nine years old by now. I honestly don't remember very much, and I don't think that it was a very popular book, but I'm really hoping that a sci fi aficionado might know what I'm talking about.

The book opened on Earth, with a woman who was some sort of professional sports player in a game that seemed like it was basically extremely violent handball. Her secret was that she was actually not human, but some race of alien who was banned from ever playing the sport professionally because of the inherent hexadactyly of the species. Basically, she gets found out and run out of town, and then some guy swoops in and says that she's perfect for this dangerous intergalactic mission.

That's only the first fraction of the book, but for some reason, I can't remember the actual exciting parts of the book, once she gets off the planet. I think that there was a big, scary alien guy in a long, black robe who either killed or threatened to kill someone in the ship's gym, but because I don't actually remember any, you know, plot, it's been extremely difficult to search for this book.