Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
Point of View: 1st Person
Recommended Age: 10+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Sports, Graphic Novel, Friendship
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.
I read a fiction novel about roller derby years ago. The novel was made into a movie, which I watched, so I thought if the movie was good, the book must be ten times better. But it really wasn’t. It didn’t make me curious about roller derby or teach me anything about it that I still remember today.
ROLLER GIRL is a girl’s story, but it also feels like a special honour to roller derby, which I now find to be twice as exciting as I did before. Astrid and her best friend Nicole are growing apart. They used to do everything together, but this summer things are different.
Astrid signed up to a roller derby summer day camp and Nicole to a ballet summer day camp. It’s hard on Astrid, who doesn’t know who she is without her best friend. But maybe roller derby will help her find answers to her questions.
It’s easy to connect to Astrid, because we’ve all felt like we didn’t know who we were or like we didn’t belong somewhere at some point in our lives. These are universal themes. Because we’re familiar with them, we understand what Astrid feels and we care for her.
This graphic novel is also instructive. I know more about roller derby now than I ever thought I would, and there was no info-dumping anywhere. I’ve learned about the positions of the players, attacks and defences techniques and what to do to score points. Well, I didn’t know anything about the sport prior, so this may seem like basic stuff, but I learned alongside Astrid and I loved that.