When Astrid's mom takes her and her BFF Nicole to see the Portland Rose City Rollers, a roller derby team, Astrid (12) has found her new passion. She wants to learn the sport, so she goes to Roller Derby Camp. Nicole, her loyal best friend, opts to follow her passion and opts for dance camp. Life is turning into a scoreboard when Nicole starts hanging out with Astrid’s enemy. It's changing all that Astrid ever knew about how to steer through life. With her new friend Zoey, and the advice of her favorite player Rainbow Bite, Astrid’s summer is turned into the derby as she tries to keep up with the older girls. From changing friendships, to a battle in the skating arena, to making decisions (and not telling mom), Astrid's life is a literal derby as she slips through friendships like their skates themselves.
Teen Student Reviewer (15):
Roller Girl was enjoyable for me to read because Astrid is a very relatable character. Her simple conflicts create many "been there, done that" moments similar to problems we all face. With her struggles to be on pace with the older girls at camp and not telling her mom before she died her hair, Astrid gives the reader amateur but witth insights that will have you shaking your head in laughter. What makes Astrid most relatable is her perspective on dealing with the issues that confront her, especially friendship. Sometimes she solves her problems too selfishly, treating some people with hate rather than cooperation. The way Astrid grows to understand compassion is a mirror to many of us as we grow from children to people we are.
I would definitely read this book again! The irony of knowing what Astrid plans to wrongfully do is humorous. Her many schemes of revenge and preparation for the worst makes the book hilarious to read. Roller Girl also provides information about a relatively uncommon hobby, roller derby, which makes the book interesting and increases your knowledge of skating and sports.
Spot-on characters and humorous (yet realistic) events combine to create a great slice-of-life story. Preteens will see themselves, some of their decisions, and their friends in Roller Girl. They also get the chance to learn about a sport they probably have never read about before!
The people in Astrid’s life touch upon encourages stereotypes, like how coloring your hair makes you look rebelliousor that drug use is an "effect" of coloring one's hair. Rather than the mention of drugs (twice), the book also mentions being in relationships, and peer pressure of kissing boys. The use of deodorant because of puberty is also mentioned. These mentions may cause very slight discomfort to younger readers.
This is the story of a young girl figuring out how to navigate life as she grows up and discovers her interests are different from her best friend's.
Looking beyond the coming-of-age elements of the story, there are two main themes: open-mindedness and perseverance. Astrid learns to stay open-minded about people, particularly accepting that Nicole would like to pursue different interests and that she shouldn’t be jealous that her friend would like to make more friends.
Astrid also shows extreme perseverance to be successful in her passion, roller derby, even though she still struggles through it. Not only in roller derby, Astrid also shows perseverance in helping out her new friend Zoey, so that the whole derby team could be successful.
10 and Up
10 and Up
Teen student volunteer. Reviewer age: 15
Buy. This book is worth revisiting whether you are younger than, starting, or finished with Junior High. Realistic fiction graphic novels like this are insightful to the reader of the beginnings and trouble of becoming a teenager.