Newbery Verdict: Roller Girl

20211230ma_4237Book: Roller Girl (2015)
Author: Victoria Jamieson
Publisher: Dial
Genre: MG, Graphic Novel
Newbery Honor Book (2016)

Opening Lines of the Book…
If you really want to know, it all began back in fifth grade. Back when Nicole and I were still best friends.


This is the story of two friends, Astrid and Nicole, who get to see a roller derby. I love how Astrid loves roller derby, but when she first puts on skates, she’s a disaster! Yet still, she’s determined to be like the roller derby champion: Rainbow Bite.

Speaking of Rainbow Bite… She’s not in the book much, but she still comes off as such an awesome role model. Astrid writes anonymous letters to her but hesitates to reveal her true identity. There’s a bit at the end that is very satisfying.

In a lot of ways, this book is a story about how two friends grow apart because of … reasons. And yet, it’s also a story of how they can still be friends and also friends with other people. I really like her new friend, Zoey. The hair-dyeing scene is fun (even though I’m not generally a fan of hair dye!) And I love the scene when they go outside to practice their roller derby!


I’ve had many people recommend this book, saying I would really like it, and … they were right! Definitely, this book deserved its Honor status. I haven’t read the Last Stop on Market Street (which won that year), so I can’t comment on which book is better (in my humble opinion).


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up. (Note: This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Award!)

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday


11 thoughts on “Newbery Verdict: Roller Girl

  1. Ooh I loved this one! I try to read all of Victoria Jamieson’s stuff because she captures those rocky relationships so perfectly, that feeling of growing up and sometimes growing apart. I also love her art style. It feels friendly, fun, and personal!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You really sum up what makes this book so compelling! Victoria Jamieson is seriously talented—she co-wrote an immensely powerful graphic novel with Omar Mohamed called When Stars Are Scattered, about his experience in a refugee camp, and it’s definitely worth a read! (And it was also a Schneider Honor last year.) Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Maria!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have not read this book, mainly because I’m not a big fan of graphic novels. But I do enjoy reading your reviews because I have great grand kids and nieces/nephews who love them. So, I am likely to gift one you recommend. I do relate to the story, as I was a figure skate in my youth, teens in my 20s. Know what it’s like to look up to role models. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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