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Mswas’ CBR-III Review #11 – Derby Girl by Shauna Cross

02/24/2011

Derby Girl by Shauna Cross was another recommendation from another cannonballer, and it was really worth it.   Derby Girl is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl named Bliss who lives in a small town in Texas. She’s at odds with her mother, who wants her to perform in teen beauty pageants. Winning a pageant is her mother’s big goal for Bliss, but Bliss wants no part of it.

I really hope wherever you are and whatever awful thing you’ve done in your life (tortured the family cat when you were five, etc.), may your Karmic payback never include going out in public dressed the same as your mother. Nobody deserves that.

Bliss and her best friend, Pash, escape to Austin one night, and Bliss finds her calling: Roller Derby! Tattooed women with monikers like Annie Social, Helena Handbasket and Dina Might seem to be the people she’s been seeking and make up a place where she can fit in. Bliss figures out a way to try out for one of the teams, and she makes it. Not only does she make as a roller derby girl, she meets a cute guy, Oliver, who plays in a band. One of her teammates warns her away from guys in bands, but of course Bliss thinks Oliver is the exception to the rule.

I don’t know what she’s so worried about. Of all the supposed nightmare stories about dating boys in bands, I promise you, they don’t apply to Oliver. He’s totally different.

Will Pash help her team to win the title? Will Oliver be her true love? Will her parents find out? Derby Girl’s brief chapters, short sentences and snappy dialogue lead you quickly through the short novel.  I found myself wanting more of  Bliss, which is a good thing. I wouldn’t call this a deep novel by any means, but the snarky commentary on pageant life and high school struck a chord for me. Bliss finds out the answers to all of the questions and comes to some more adult epiphanies. It was a light, fun novel that wasn’t too trivial.

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