“It’s camp and roller derby! Where can you go wrong?”
The third installment of the Derby Daredevils shifts to Tomoko’s perspective as summer break approaches. Rather than hitting the trails and camping with her uncle as usual, Tomoko is going with her entire league to a sleep-away roller derby camp. Tomoko is not as excited as her friends because meeting new people is terrifying for her. Upon arrival, Tomoko is shocked to learn they are staying at a large convention center in the middle of Dallas, and she sees her worst fear realized when a girl starts bullying her. Worst of all, her friends don’t notice. When the Daredevils decide to sneak out into the city for a little while, they become lost. It’s up to Tomoko to use all her wilderness skills to navigate them back before anyone notices. The journey back is fraught with tension and revelations, and Tomoko learns that taking the lead also means standing up for yourself. This highly illustrated chapter book is lighthearted and fun yet willing to take on hard topics. Tomoko’s experiences with microaggressions—for her larger size and Japanese heritage—are not usually discussed with so much honesty and humor for middle graders. Rosewater excels at using the different perspectives of her diverse cast of characters to help Tomoko define what is happening to her and to ultimately confront her bully.
This book will roll off the shelves.(Fiction. 8-12)