Saturday, April 04, 2020

Kenzie Kickstarts a Team (The Derby Daredevils #1)

Rosewater, Kit and Escabasse, Sophie (Illustrator)
Kenzie Kickstarts a Team (The Derby Daredevils #1) 
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Kenzie and her best friend Shelley love roller derby, a sport in which they are interested because Kenzie's mother is involved. They both hope to join a team when they are in high school, so are super excited to see that there are try outs for ages 10-14 teams at the warehouse in Austin, Texas where they have been skating. The only problem is that they really want to try out together, and find that the only way they can do this is to put together a team of five. They don't have a lot of time, but look around their school and approach several people. Tomoko is fearless at basketball but not getting enough time on the court, and is willing to give it a try. Jules is involved in a Shakespeare theater group, but always getting in trouble for her sword fighting, and is also willing to give it a try. Celia, from the same theater group, is less thrilled, especially since she has never skated. Shelley wants Bree, who is in their class at school and skateboards, to try out, but Kenzie doesn't want to have her around, mainly because she has a nascent crush on Bree and doesn't know how to handle it. The girls take their team to the tryouts, and while things don't quite work out as they planned, they are ultimately successful.
Strengths: This had a lot of good drama in it-- Kenzie worrying that Shelley is becoming friends with Tomoko, the crush on Bree, and the stress of putting together a team in order to be able to skate in a league. There are a lot of illustrations, although not as many as a graphic novel. The details about roller derby moves and competition are also interesting. This was a fun, quick read.
Weaknesses: The girls are in fifth grade, and there are some details that make this seem a bit young.
What I really think: I'm not sure how interested my readers are going to be in a book about roller derby that isn't Roller Girls, but this is an unusual and innovative book about a sport, so I think I'll give it a try.

Ms. Yingling

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