Roller Girl is a graphic novel about literally falling down, literally getting bumps and bruises and coming to terms with the fact that the hurt old friends create lasts longer than any fall on the roller derby rink.
Victoria Jamieson created a graphic novel for the middle shooler who is not sure of the ropes; is not sure of the rules of not only roller derby but teen girls as well. After all, this is the first time Astrid has been 12 and gone into middle school. Astrid is a typical 12-year-old: has done everything with her best friend, is excited about doing things she loves and sometimes does not listen. Okay, a lot of the time does not listen. When she finally realizes she and her best friend are growing apart, this starts Astrid realizing that she is alone. Or is she? Roller Derby becomes her outlet in more ways than one.
This is a fun, exciting and different book. The ending is realistic as Astrid’s relationship with her old and new friends plays out the only way it probably can. Jamieson came out with Roller Girl just about the time graphic novels were rolling out onto the scene as legitimate story telling tools. Therefore, this book would have been a great way to tell this story at the time. Today, we have several books on the subject, and several graphic novels as well. In fact, Jamieson’s All’s Faire in Middle School also deals with the “odd kid” doing her thing. Yet, each one has that little something to set them apart. This helps keep a classic tale new and fresh.
Jamieson writes modern characters (Astrid lives with her single mom) dealing with the everyday. Fun, bright and perfectly detailed art complements the text. A lot of great facts about the sport of Roller Derby comes out and the author herself partakes in a team. I will say, my favorite part of the book are the roller derby names and now I really want one!
And by the way, I so nailed what name Astrid finally chooses for herself. A name that is her personality: wild, free, unpredictable. A force to deal with, even when (or especially) when it is crashing.