cover image Kenzie Kickstarts a Team (The Derby Daredevils #1)

Kenzie Kickstarts a Team (The Derby Daredevils #1)

Kit Rosewater, illus. by Sophie Escabasse. Amulet, $14.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4079-4

In Austin, Tex., fifth grade best friends Kenzie and Shelly can’t wait to try out for the newly formed Junior Derby League, but to guarantee that they’ll end up on the same team, they have to create a new crew of five skaters in a week. Somehow, they manage to recruit three other girls, none of whom skates well or knows anything about roller derby. Shelly suggests enlisting expert skateboarder Bree, Kenzie’s neighbor and secret crush. With Shelly becoming close to teammate Tomoko, a shy classmate with impressive basketball skills, and Kenzie’s unintentional revelation that she likes Bree, Kenzie feels unprepared for the upcoming tryouts and the changes rolling quickly her way. Through a third-person narrative, this relatable, empathic series debut introduces readers to the fast-paced sport of roller derby and hints at interesting backstories for Kenzie’s teammates—Tomoko, for instance, is withdrawn unless competing—likely setting up plenty of challenges for this underdog team to overcome in future installments. Kenzie’s transgender dad is rendered incidentally, and black-and-white drawings by Escabasse depict various scenes and highlight the inclusive character group. Ages 8–12. [em]Author’s agent: Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS Literary. Ilustrator’s agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary. (Mar.) [/em]