S & S. Mar. 2021. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534455023.
Gr 9 Up–Daya Wijesinghe’s parents died suddenly in a car crash and she manages her grief and emotions by causing herself physical pain. She discovers skateboarding and relishes the bumps and bruises that come from falling, which is a pain she can control. One day her friend from the skatepark, Fee, introduces her to roller derby. She also meets Shanti, the manager of the roller derby team, The Killa Honeys, who makes Daya want to open up and feel the feelings she has long repressed. Roller derby seems like the best opportunity to fulfill her need for pain and bruising so she tries out for the team, but finds that being part of a team makes it more difficult to hide her emotions. When Daya officially makes the team and participates in their “shenanigans,” she quickly realizes roller derby isn’t only about getting the most bruises or being the strongest person but being a part of something outside herself and her pain. Daya is Sri Lankan, and most major characters are people of color. Fee is gender nonconforming and their girlfriend is deaf and uses ASL. At first, Daya is unsure about her own sexuality, but soon realizes she truly cares for Shanti and that her sexuality doesn’t have to be rigidly defined. The book also contains information about the history of roller derby.
VERDICT An emotional story about coming to terms with grief and guilt and allowing yourself to open up to others to heal. An uplifting and engaging title for all YA collections.

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