Saturday, January 9, 2016

Roller Girl - by Victoria Jamieson

My rating:

For fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, a heartwarming graphic novel about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby. 
Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friend instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid's life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole...and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl. (Goodreads)

I had no idea this book existed until someone handed it to me to check in at the library. I took it home just because of the cover. I mean, the girl has blue hair and tall, rainbow socks just like I used to have. I really didn't have a choice.

Usually, I'm not that interested in heartwarming books about friendship and whatever other things heartwarming books talk about. Roller Girl, though, is a genuinely cute book. Astrid and her best friend Nicole are starting to drift apart, but Astrid is able to work through it with the help of her roller derby camp. She learns to work hard for a sport she enjoys and makes new friends along the way. With a few bumps along the way she even learns how to work out her differences with Nicole and can accept that they don't have to spend every minute together to be friends.

Touching story aside, I love how realistic Astrid is as a character. Astrid takes up roller derby with dreams of being the best skater has ever seen. When she shows up at camp... she sucks. I've never had any natural talent for athletic activities, so I could really relate. Instead of giving up, though, Astrid works harder than anyone else and spends all her free time practicing. By the end of the book, she still kind of sucks, but has definitely improved. And really, after a few weeks of a junior roller derby camp, it would be ridiculous if Astrid became the best skater. Instead, by the end of the book, Astrid has learned that if she keeps working hard, her skating will keep improving.

This is an amazingly cute graphic novel that I would not hesitate to recommend. The story is sweet and the illustrations are just as fun and colorful as the cover that grabbed my attention. Also, everyone needs more girls with blue hair in their lives, trust me.

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