This is the perfect graphic novel for 12-14 year olds. I mean, I had fun reading it as an adult, but it would definitely keep a young teenagers attention.
The main character, Astrid is a twelve year old girl who is very typical as far as attitude, emotions and hormones go for this age. She becomes fascinated with roller derby (I didn’t know much about it till I rad this book). She wants to skate and attend skate derby camp with her bestie Nicole. However, some problems arise such as the fact that she’s not that great at skating and really has to work super hard to become good, and another problem has to do with her friend Nicole not wanting to skate with her. Nicole is more about ballet, but since they are twelve and girls, Astrid gets upset that her best friend doesn’t want to do what SHE wants to do. Once she starts derby camp, she gets a lot of help from a girl named Zoey. Astrid really wants to be a jammer (a position on the roller derby team like her idol Rainbow Bite), but Zoey gets the position, which ticks Astrid off and causes their friendship to go down the drain. Astrid has to learn that just because we all aren’t interested in the same things, doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. Here she is friendless, having problems with her mom and not being the best she can be at skating all because of her attitude.
This book is entertaining and the pictures are simple but engaging, but the book is so much more than fun. The lessons a reader can take from this book are grand and evoke empathy and understanding since so many are in the same boat with their attitudes and their self-centeredness. No wonder this book was a Newberry Honor Award winner and on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2016 list, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers 2016, and Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2016 (YALSA).
Click on the image to visit the author’s Amazon page to find more books written by Jamieson.
Jamieson, Victoria (2015). Roller girl. New York, NY: Penguin.