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Derby Girl Hardcover – September 4, 2007

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The novel shines in describing the dashing world of roller derby, where the players are hot and have nasty names like Dinah Might, Eva Destruction and Princess Slaya. [Shauna Cross shows] naked enthusiasm for the edgy, underground sport.”—Publishers Weekly
“This first-time author combines roller-skating and coming-of-age with a sardonic heroine to create an enjoyable, quick read. Whether Bliss is battling menacing derby mavens or discovering the perils of lying to parents, she is quirky and likeable despite her prickly exterior. . . . Fans of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson books will be pleased with this American counterpart.”—Voice of Youth Advocates
“Sharp humor dominates this entertaining debut from Cross, who weaves her own experience with roller derby into the fun and traumas of a small-town girl experiencing major rebellion. . . . plenty of laughs and adolescent insights . . . exuberant and insightful.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Roller derby . . . is conveyed with sexy, enthusiastic energy that injects the whole novel with a warm and authentic vibe.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

About the Author

Shauna Cross's Derby Girl was named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and Quick Pick for Young Adults, a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. It is now a major motion picture, Whip It, directed by Drew Barrymore. Cross is a screenwriter and a member of the Los Angeles Derby Dolls roller derby league. She skates under the name “Maggie Mayhem.” She grew up in Austin, Texas, and now lives in Los Angeles.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805080236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805080230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,830,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
While wandering through the young adult section of my local library, I came across DERBY GIRL. I had seen the book in the bookstore on other occasions but never bought it. I picked it up at the library and took it home with me. Not knowing what to expect, I started reading, and was instantly enthralled by the life of Bliss Cavender.

Fans of A&E's Rollergirls will especially enjoy this book.

Bliss is too big for Bodeen, Texas. Bliss is a sixteen-year-old high school student that can't wait to get out of her small town. Her mom is obsessed with beauty pageants, and expects Bliss to follow in her footsteps. However, Bliss is better known for receiving the "certificate of participation" rather than the tiara. She is more comfortable in her 80's thrift store T-shirts rather than teased hair and evening gowns.

On a shopping trip to the big city of Austin, Bliss snags a flyer advertising Roller Derby. In her younger days, Bliss was pretty good on four wheels, and she hatches a plot with her friend, Pash, to sneak back to Austin (an hour from Bodeen) for try-outs. After a shaky start on skates, Bliss soon remembers the feel of the wheels under her feet and is totally addicted.

Sneaking out twice a week under the guise of an SAT-prep course, Bliss soon becomes Babe Ruthless and a fan favorite for the Austin Roller Derby scene.

Covering the topics of fitting in, parental disagreements, first love, and finding out who you are meant to be, DERBY GIRL does not disappoint. The story moves quickly without any needless sidelines to interrupt the plot. Ms. Cross's style is hip and spunky. She uses many slang phrases as well as abbreviations to keep in touch with the teen audience.

Bliss is a lot of fun and independent. It's refreshing to read a story where the lead character is comfortable with who she is meant to be and stays true to herself the entire way through the story.

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
bliss cavendar wants all of this stuff to happen, and.. luckily, it all just kind of happens. without trying, without much strife, without much conflict, without much conversation, she magically finds herself the best roller derby girl in austin with the hottest boyfriend and the best grades. then her parents come around and let her do what she wants despite having the opposite feelings slightly earlier, and when her boyfriend betrays her, she.. kinda gets over it in a way that a sixteen year old girl never, ever has.

the book was fluffy and enjoyable, but for a book written to empower girls to follow their dreams and carve out places to fit in, and a book glorifying the inclusive pro-girl sport of roller derby, the book was rife with fatphobia- on almost every other page, bliss complains about fat tourists, fat customers at her restaurant, roller derby women who are fat, any woman who is fatter than she is, and how fat her mother is. what a bummer.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joel Kramer on February 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
I picked up Shauna Cross' "Whip It" because I enjoyed the movie. If you like roller derby, you'll kind of like this book, which shows some of the fun of participating but glosses over training, injuries, and getting to know any of the characters besides the narrator. There's no discussion of the background of derby or why any of these women participate in it, leaving the book to focus solely on a narrator whose story, once the glossy trappings of derby are stripped from it, isn't all that original or engaging. It's a typical teenage coming of age novel, and once you strip it of the trend factor that roller derby brings there isn't really anything original left. We've seen this all before, but it's on skates now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By V. Hans on January 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Bliss and the other characters in this book. It is a great character study of teenage life in the new millennium. If you love music, roller derby, or Austin Texas, you will enjoy this book. And it's not just for teens. It would make a great movie!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jaylia TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
High school misfit Bliss Cavendar, aka Babe Ruthless, dyes her hair blue, loves indie music and wants OUT of the tiny Texas town that makes her feel like she must have been misplaced by her real family who are surely living in some cool urban setting like San Fransisco or NY City. Instead, Bliss has a beauty pageant obsessed mother who hopes Bliss will be able to win the big name crowns she never did. Bliss is going through the motions to please her mom, mostly keeping her sarcastic thoughts to herself, when she discovers Roller Derby--a no holds barred counter culture scene she desperately wants to join.

Bliss has never been athletic and at the Derby tryouts she has to pretend she is already 18, but after some streaking laps around the track in her old Barbie skates she earns a spot on the Hurl Scouts team (think a gang of bad-girl girl scouts.) To get to the team's practices in Austin she has to tell her parents she's taking an SAT prep class and hitch a ride on the senior center's bingo bus.

Of course the local Miss Bluebonnet beauty pageant is on the same night as the biggest derby event of the season.

A fast, fun read. If you enjoyed the movie, you'll love the book--the author wrote the screen play--and if love the book you'll want to see the movie. With smart dialog and family members that bicker but ultimately come through for each other, Whip It reminds me a little of the movie Juno--and of course Ellen Page stars in both.
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