Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (2015)  – Middle Grade Graphic Novel

Astrid is twelve.  She has had a best friend – the same one – since she was about six years old.  Their mothers take turns doing all sorts of things with them.  Nicole is into ballet, but Astrid is not. One night, Astrid’s mom takes them to watch roller derby, and Astrid falls in love with it.  Nicole still prefers dancing, but Astrid assumes that Nicole will sign up for roller derby camp with her.  She does not as she prefers dance camp instead.  They both make new friends with other girls at their respective camps, but it is difficult because they’ve always been there for each other.

This was a quick read for me, and it was immediately engaging.  There is quite a bit about roller derby, but it is really more about friendship, relationships with  family, and how having lots of support in all you strive to do well is important in life.  I really enjoyed it, and I think my 10-year-old self would have really appreciated it as well!

Five of five stars.
Summer Reading Online (book 25 of 30)

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Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin

Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin (2014)

Franny Katzenback of Pittsburg lives not too far from Dr. Salk’s search for a polio vaccine.  However, it is too late for her.  She has gotten paralytic polio, and spends months in the hospital, including time in an iron lung.  While she was in the iron lung, a nun comes to hospital regularly to read to her.  She reads her a brand new book: Charlotte’s Web. Franny falls in love with this book, and the nun gives her a copy of it to take home with her.  Finally Franny can breathe outside the iron lung, and can go home in a wheelchair.  A physical therapist comes regularly to see if she can get Franny back on her feet again (and back to school.)

Franny is short on friends now, because all the kids and their parents seem to think that Franny is still contagious (even though she’s not, of course), so they will not come close.  However, Franny does have a new friend who lives on her dog . . . Fleabrain.  Fleabrain writes her messages and does lots of things to get her attention.  It turns out that Fleabrain is even better than Charlotte the spider!

Summer Reading Online – 15 of 30

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot
Olivia Grace Harrison has lived with her aunt for as long as she can remember, because her mother died when she was two.  She has never met her father, but she corresponds via letter with him.  She thinks he must be an archeologist with his world adventures.  It turns out that she, Olivia, is actually a princess!  Princess Mia of Genovia (of the Princess Diaries books) is her older half-sister!

This is a fun and quick read.  Having read Royal Wedding a few weeks before, it was great fun for me to have the opportunity to read this book, as well.  It shows the perspective of the story from Olivia’s point of view.   I highly recommend it for young and old alike!

(Summer Reading Online – 11 of 30)

El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo by Cece Bell (2014)

This graphic memoir is beautifully written and illustrated, and is really great for readers of all ages.  (I read this book just after Christmas and before New Year’s after being on hold for it at my local public library.)  Cece is growing up in the 1970s and 80s and has a hearing impairment after an illness as a preschooler.  She also believes that she is a super hero.  This is really a powerful story about navigating the world of school and friends with a hearing impairment.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012)

Callie is in 7th grade, and she just loves musicals and the theater.  However, she learned young that she really could not carry a tune, so therefore, she really couldn’t perform in a musical.  She has found her place though and is the set designer for her middle school’s latest musical production.  Meanwhile, she is having crushes on various 8th graders, and suddenly life seems crazy.

I read Telgemeier’s Smile a couple of years ago, and I am surprised that I didn’t read this one until now.  I personally enjoyed it very much.   In another year or two, I may consider recommending it to my nine year old niece. 

Blood Diaries: Tales of a 6th Grade Vampire by Marissa Moss

Blood Diaries: Tales of a 6th Grade Vampire by Marissa Moss (2014)

This is a cute book that I would have definitely enjoyed back in fourth or fifth grade . . . I like to think my mom would have let me read it. (She was always pretty cool about letting my choose my own, but tried to steer me away from horror, and toward mystery.  Let’s just say, I tended to prefer more horror to mystery.   That has maybe changed a bit as an adult, but mystery isn’t always my favorite genre, but then I’ve mostly gotten away from horror as well.) 

Edgar is a vampire, as is his family.  Vampire children and adults can choose to age as they wish.  Edgar could choose to age faster and skip sixth grade at school, or choose to skip middle school entirely.  He doesn’t want to.  He wants to experience the same age as his human peers.  Some of his cousins like being teens so much that they just stay the same age for  years at a time.  

So what happens when his human classmates seems to discover that Edgar is really a vampire?  And that is against the rules of his vampire family.  He needs to pass as human.  What’s a young vampire to do?

Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers

Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 2014)


An almost 13-year-old named Ruth, who likes to skateboard, write poetry (and publishes it on her Tumblr), and help make movies with her best friend has always known she was adopted.  Her parents adopted her as a newborn and she was in the NICU in New York.  She had a heart transplant when she was just a month old.  One day, she discovers, in the internet, a girl in England who looks exactly like her!  So she emails Ruby.   The entire book is told mainly through email, texts, poetry, and some of Jedgar and Ruth’s “Shorca!” scripts.  

I recommend this book for 10 to 12 year olds in particuar.  It deals with what it means to be a friend, a sister, a child, and finding forgiveness.