Sunday, December 17, 2017

Review - Roller Girl

Roller Girl
by Victoria Jamieson
Date: 2015
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Reading level: MG
Book type: graphic novel
Pages: 240
Format: e-book
Source: library

The Newbery Honor Award Winner and New York Times bestseller Roller Girl is a heartwarming graphic novel about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby—perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier's Smile!

For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school... in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.

In this graphic novel debut that earned a Newbery Honor and five starred reviews, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring coming-of-age story about friendship, perseverence, and girl power!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This will likely be my last read of the year, so I'm super happy it was such a good one!

I'll admit to being swayed by the Newbery sticker on the cover. I've had pretty good luck with Newbery Honor and Award winners, so I expected this would be an enjoyable read. I just wasn't prepared for how much I would like it.

The story is so well done, incorporating aspects of roller derby into a contemporary tale about friendship and growing up. Astrid's issues with her friend Nicole rang so true. Sometimes we do change as we grow up, and that can make friendships change... or even suffer. I thought this part of the story was particularly well done. I also loved all the roller derby stuff: the funky names, the attention-grabbing outfits, the rules of the game. If there's one downside to this book, it's that girls reading it might start begging their parents to let them give roller derby a try. It looks like so much fun!

The illustrations were absolutely adorable. Astrid's facial expressions captured her moods and her character perfectly. Some of the graphic novels I've read recently have been done in monochromatic palettes. But Roller Girl is in glorious full colour. (When there's a character named Rainbow Bite, why would you not take advantage of that?)

I'm so glad I picked up this book. I wish it had been around when I was a middle grader. Who knows? Maybe I would've ended up a roller girl, too!

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing & Editing: 4/5
Illustration: 5/5
Originality: 5/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.75 out of 5 ladybugs

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