Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (2015).
Roller Girl is about a typical fifth-grader navigating today’s world, but this graphic novel is so much more. It is the voice of a wise, reassuring friend who answers questions that cannot even be formulated by a 12-year-old reader about to enter that strange frontier called middle school.
The specter of embarking on sixth grade looms large for kids. No matter what, Astrid Vasquez always knew that her best bud Nicole was by her side; until, suddenly, she wasn’t.
Nicole was charmed by the promises of makeup and dance and, well – you know … girl stuff.
Astrid, on the other hand, began thinking more in terms of war paint. Her world was rocked when she attended her first roller-derby game.
Astrid sensitively relates her struggles with what would become of her disintegrating friendship. Moreover, she honestly narrates her struggles to discern – and determine – what and whom she would become.
Roller Girl is all about divining one’s dreams. It is about the alchemy of turning those dreams into reality. It is a novel about the virtues of teamwork, and the transcendent bonding that entails. It is a story about letting go of what you cannot keep, yet embracing all of the blessings that have been bestowed by that which you are releasing.
In a word, Roller Girl is a book about living. And that’s pretty good food for thought, if you’re a kid about to enter middle school.