Roller Girl

Victoria Jamieson. Dial, $12.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-8037-4016-7
When Astrid’s mother takes her and her best friend Nicole to a roller derby event, Astrid is intrigued, but Nicole is left cold. The rift between them grows as Astrid signs up for derby camp, while Nicole opts for ballet. Astrid works her tail off, makes friends, finds a mentor in a star skater named Rainbow Bite, and, at last, appears in her first bout. She also undergoes some uncomfortable preadolescent ordeals before reconciling with Nicole, in scenes that Jamieson (Pest in Show), in her first graphic novel, keeps blessedly free of smarminess. Jamieson’s full-color cartooning has a Sunday comics vibe, and her pacing is faultless. Astrid struggles to do right as she tries to understand her soured friendship with Nicole, and she narrates her own failures with heartwarming candor (“I don’t know why I did it. I didn’t mean to hit them”). When she comes up with an elaborate scheme to bolster a teammate’s failing confidence and carries it off despite the pressure of their upcoming bout, readers will want to stand up and cheer. Ages 9–12. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/26/2015
Release date: 03/10/2015
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-525-42967-8
Prebound-Glued - 240 pages - 978-1-62765-759-4
Prebound-Sewn - 240 pages - 978-0-606-37112-4
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