Here’s a Cybils-nominated graphic novel that I really enjoyed.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. Dial Books, 2015.
It’s the summer before middle school, and Astrid is just about to learn what a bumpy ride that will be. After watching a roller derby game with her best friend, Astrid decides she wants to do roller derby summer camp, even though she can’t skate at all. She’s horrified when her friend signs up for ballet camp instead – something Astrid isn’t interested in at all. Even though she’s on her own, Astrid makes a new friend, Zoey. At first it looks like it’s mostly going to be physical training – learning to skate and how to be tough are hard enough – but Astrid comes to the hard realization that as disappointed as she feels by her old best friend, she’s not a great friend herself. There’s looks at that difficult time when some girls are starting to be interested in boys and others still think they’re icky. I also loved the locker-room notes exchanged between Astrid and the city’s star player, Rainbow Bite. The art is mostly rounded and friendly, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier, but once in a while it veers towards the metaphorical, perfectly illustrating Astrid’s inner life. I can vouch for general kid appeal on top of my enjoyment, as both of mine ate this up.
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