This graphic novel was awarded a Newberry Honor this year. I haven’t jumped on the graphic novel bandwagon yet, but I thought if it earned a Newberry Honor, it must have some merit. So I read it and I’m so glad I did.
After a fun evening watching Roller Derby, 11-yr-old Astrid is smitten and she just has to do it. Her mother signs her up for a Roller Derby summer camp. Astrid assumes that her best friend Nicole will do the camp with her, but Nicole surprises her by signing up for a ballet camp instead. Astrid feels betrayed. The first day of skating camp is harder than anything she’s ever done and she almost quits. But the bumps and bruises from her falls don’t hurt as much as losing her best friend. It’s a tough summer for Astrid as she tries to make new friends among the roller girls, forget about Nicole and not think too much about starting middle school. Accepting her weaknesses is the first step to becoming the strong, tough roller girl she wants to be. Acknowledging her mistakes in her relationship with Nicole is the first step to forming new friendships with her roller pals.
In her graphic novel debut, Victoria Jamieson has done a fantastic job in developing a believable character ark for Astrid, a tween that has some lessons to learn about perseverance and friendship.
This wonderful coming-of-age story is perfect for readers ages 10-14. It would be great if boys read it too, but they might not want to be seen reading a book with the word “girl” in the title even if that girl is a rough and tough Roller Derby girl.