The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team

Amulet. (Derby Daredevils: Bk. 1). Mar. 2020. 160p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419740794.
Gr 3-7–Set in the world of roller derby in Austin, fifth-graders Kenzie and Shelley are two derby-obsessed best friends who call themselves the Dynamic Duo. When they find out there will be a city junior league, the Duo sets out to recruit three other girls for their squad. Along the way they meet shy Tomoko, who loves basketball; excitable Jules, who is eager to join; Camila, who is timid and reluctant; and skateboarder Bree, who Kenzie is still unsure about. Kenzie feels weird emotions around Bree that she can’t categorize. In her wonderful debut, Rosewater gives readers a look into the world of roller derby and what it entails, while depicting a relatable story of shifting young friendships. Escabasse’s grayscale illustrations capture the animated and feverish elements of the derby, as well as the characters’ expressions and reactions. The cast of characters is diverse; Kenzie’s father is trans, and the subject is discussed openly and frankly but without fanfare.
VERDICT A great addition to juvenile sports fiction for school and public libraries. Perfect for fans of Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl, and readers seeking stories about sports-loving girls supporting each other.

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