There are two innovations that I think make Darcy Miller’s book, Roll, a winner. First, the main character is adjusting to numerous changes and trying to make it all work. Not innovative enough for you? There are lots of books about characters trying to handle change? True, but most of these books feature a girl as the main character. Dealing with developing situations and redefining yourself is not often the topic of a book with a boy as the central character. Featuring a boy going through this makes for an interesting, fresh perspective.. Second, Birmingham Roller Pigeons are an imperative part of the story. Now, that’s intriguing. By the end of the story, I’d learned a lot about them and wanted my own! (not going to happen)
Ren is a boy dealing with change, lots of it. He and his family move away to live in grandma’s house. Ren’s best friend Aiden, once a kindred soul who shared his love of comic books, is now an athlete and joining the popular crowd. His father, a celebrated runner, is expecting Ren to be one, too. Ren tries to cope and meet the expectations of others. Out on a run, he finds himself mesmerized by what appear to be pigeons hurtling toward earth as a group. Following his curiosity leads him to Sutton, a no-nonsense, take-me-as-I-am girl with flaming red hair and a talent for training competitive Birmingham Roller Pigeons. The sport, as well as a friendship with Sutton, spark Ren’s own change and eventual self-acceptance. Fans of realistic fiction will find this story engaging.
By Darcy Miller
Accelerated Reader Level 4.0