Top positive review
Unique Story - Some spoilers
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2016
This is a very good coming of age story for girls. I purchased it to pre-read. I'm on the fence about giving it to my 7-year old (who is an avid reader 2-3 years above her age). There is a lot of stronger language. There was only one instance of an actual curse word being used—"ass-turd" and that was only by a child being nasty. It's also pretty intense "tween drama" and my daughter hasn't reached that point in her age (hopefully not for another year or two) so I don't know if it will make sense for her.
I think it would resonate best with kids who are 9-to-14--a time when children run into a lot of misunderstandings coupled with hormones. I remember being exactly that age as a couple long-term friends and I split apart with our differences. The main character (Astrid) has a lot of intense emotions that are experienced at that age and comes to the understanding that she was actually part of the issue when it comes to the demise of her friendship with her best friend (Nicole). She realizes she was caught up in her own world and stopped paying attention to the person Nicole grew into. They seemed to make peace they were taking different paths, but it's up in the air whether or not they will be friends. It seems like a parent could mention is that it's okay (good even) to have friends in different aspects of your life. They don't have to share all your interests. You don't have to part ways even if the main things you love are very different.
I am not completely sure about the message at the end. Astrid chooses to eat dinner with her roller derby friends instead of Nicole after the game. That is okay except Astrid leaves Nicole's gift of flowers at the bleachers. I know it's meant to be powerfully symbolic, but it seems so wasteful. Why not regift them?
But perhaps I am overthinking this. The book is still a good message for girls as we woman are too often pressured to put others' feelings in front of ours or hang onto a relationship as long as possible—which actually makes things worse. It also touches on a subject that seems to be pretty universal for tweens and young teens—even those who don't play/like roller derby.