Roller Girl
Victoria Jamieson
ages 9-12
Dial Books, 2015

I’ve always been a huge fan of coming of age stories. The ones out there tend to lean heavy in the boy coming of age direction, though and I’m a girl. Often that doesn’t matter. I learned so much from Vince Vawter’s Paperboy and from Gary Schmidt’s Okay For Now. When it came to girl coming of age books though, I often found myself wondering why so many just became good and a bit more girly. That’s not who I am and I could never identify.

Along came Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl and changed all that. At 47, I grew up a little bit more after reading this book. I loved how Astrid changed and accepted who she was but let the past be what it needed to be as well–a part of her heart. I loved the scene where Astrid and her friend dye her hair blue:

Every 10 minutes or so she’d peek in and say cryptic things like, Oh, yes–we’re cooking with fire now! …  And now we add the blue. This is where things get better.

This is a scene right out of my own life when I let a friend cut half my hair short so it would look cooler with my new black rubber bracelets and earrings and swing down long on the other side.

The great thing is that I didn’t bring this book home, my 8 year old daughter did. I found her up late last night saying she couldn’t go to sleep until the book was finished. I had to know what was so great, so I read it myself today. What a great feeling to know my daughter and I can read the same book at 8 and 47 years old and get great things from it. This is the book, I shall remember, the one that showed me how special graphic novels can be.