Written in 2007 by LADD derby girl Shauna Cross AKA Maggie Mayhem, Derby Girl is the story of a teenage girl who discovers her passion and talent for derby. Just in case you live under a rock this is the book that the movie “Whip It!” was based on.
I’ve passed this book on the shelves of my local bookstore more times then I can count, always wanting to pick it up, but it was not until I saw “Whip It!” that I was intrigued enough to give it a read. I’m pretty picky reader and a book has GOT TO hold my interest from the get go or else it will get chucked into the pile of books I never intend to finish.
Shauna Cross does a great job of setting up the story of Bliss Cavendar, a cool loner-esque girl stuck in the social trenches of high school, as well as being subjected to her mother’s obsession with beauty pageants and to top it off living in Bodeen, a small town in Texas. The thing I liked right away was that I felt like I could relate to Bliss – I think Shauna did a great job of capturing the quintessential derby girl persona.
There are definitely a couple of standout moments in the book that only a true derby girl like Shauna Cross would know how to capture accurately:
* Bliss’ immediate love for the game and fascination with the skaters. I totally remember the first time I ever saw “new” derby it was like a big light tuned on inside me – that’s what I’m supposed to be doing!
* The team connection – finding your team and connecting with them on and off the track. Going from being stranded in a social dessert, Bliss really blossoms as a talented derby girl amongst the too cute Hurl Scouts.
I loved all the different derby personas the Shauna used throughout the story. From the Hurl Scouts enduring coach Blade, to Dinah Might, the mean girl you love to hate. Of course you gotta the love Hurl Scouts team captain, Malice in Wonderland, who takes Bliss in after she leaves home due to a nasty squabble with her parents. Now that’s what I call team support! I would do it for any of my ladies.
One of my favorite non-derby moments in the book is when Bliss hip checks her high school nemesis, Corbi into a locker. The scene that follows in the guidance councilor’s office is pretty priceless. I know there have been times in my “real” life when I have had similar urges.
I was really feeling the underlying story of Bliss breaking away from her parents, notably her mom Brooke. I thought Shauna did a great job of realistically depicting the relationship between a 16-year-old girl and her mother. The dad character, Earl definitely deserves an honorable mention . . . I’m not going to tell you what happens, it would giveaway the ending
Overall Derby Girl is a fun read – being only 234 pages, the story moves along at a nice pace. I would totally read this book again and recommend it as a necessary addition to anyone’s derby library.
If you want to pick up your copy of Derby Girl check out Amazon, or of course you can visit your local book shop, they can usually order it for you if they don’t have it in stock.