Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Reviews:Falling Hard (Roller Girls #1) by Megan Sparks

Annie and her father move from London, England to her father's small home town in Illinois where her father plans on opening a cafe.  While searching for a place to fit in at high school Annie makes new friends (including artist best friend Lexie)and tries to decide whether her gymnastics replacement should be cheer leading or roller derby.

This was a nice coming of age tale that most tween girls will be able to relate to in some way.  There is a small love triangle forming but as the book is part of a larger series that was not the focus of the book and is in fact left hanging only partially formed.  The real focus of the book is Annie's journey to finding a place for herself and her new love affair with roller derby, which I thought was a nice change from other realistic fiction books I've read for this age group.  Annie has a nice relationship with her father and I thought the author did a good job with both that relationship and Annie's relationship with her mother.  

As a Non Skating Official who has worked with women's, men's and junior roller derby leagues I will say that the roller derby is fairly accurate.  The drills, amount of work and athleticism required were accurate although their timeline for passing a skills test and playing in a bout was a bit expedited.  The author also did a wonderful job illustrating the camaraderie that develops between those involved in roller derby and the sense of welcoming and openness that teams try to foster.

The relationship Jesse has with the players and team which may surprise people from other sports is accurate for the way roller derby officiating currently works.  The book was also written during the last rules set (for those that aren't derby familiar; in January a major revision to the rules of roller derby came out.)  That being said it was only one or two references and I don't think it would keep a reader from going to a game and being able to follow what's going on.

There was one disparaging comment written about men's and women's roller derby being different games because men don't wear fishnets.  I know not everyone is a supporter of men's roller derby however I found the comment demeaning to both men and women's players.  The sport is about more then fishnets as the rest of the book spends a lot of time proving and while I believe there are differences in how the men play vs how the women play I thought the comment was unnecessarily disparaging of everyone.  

E-book copy provided by netgalley.

~Danger Prone Daphne, NSO