by Victoria Jamieson
Published March 2015 by Dial Books
Review copy obtained from public library
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.
Confession time...I did not expect to love this book. I mean roller derby? But I was captivated by Astrid's story after just a few pages. After seeing a roller derby Astrid is hooked. Despite the fact that her best friend decides to attend dance camp instead of roller derby camp, Astrid goes to roller derby camp without her. It turns out to be MUCH harder than she thought. The other girls are bigger, stronger, and tougher. Astrid lies to her mother about Nicole attending the camp and dyes her hair blue in an attempt to toughen her look. After she has a fight with Nicole, who seems to have a new best friend, Astrid channels her anger into roller derby. She works harder than everyone. One thing I love about this book is that it does not have a shiny, unrealistic ending. Astrid is a character to admire for her courage, tenacity and all her faults.
Middle Grade fans of Raina Telgemeier books will really enjoy Roller Girl.