Shelly Struggles To Shine

Abrams/Amulet. (The Derby Daredevils: Bk. 2). Sept. 2020. 176p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419746857.
Gr 3-6–This second series installment is written from Shelly’s perspective as she tries to identify her role on the roller derby team. As the Derby Daredevils prepare to participate in a junior tournament, the teammates naturally settle into various leadership roles, but Shelly feels unseen. She settles on creating costumes, but by ignoring her friends’ wishes and aggressively pursuing her idea, she amplifies the problem instead. Ultimately, the team grows even stronger by learning to communicate and by recognizing each member’s unique strengths and contributions. Shelly is white, but the team and supporting cast are notably diverse. Characters of varying race, gender, and sexuality are represented, and notable attention is given to Fen, a friend of Shelly’s whose pronouns are they/them. These identities are woven seamlessly into the narrative and support the explorations of friendship, communication, and personal identity. The Derby Daredevils are a wonderfully enjoyable lot and a welcome addition to the middle-grade scene. Readers need not have read book one to thoroughly enjoy book two. Bring on more roller derby!
VERDICT Readers will enjoy this welcoming and acutely relatable sequel. Recommended as a general purchase.

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