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Falling Hard

(Roller Girls #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  44 reviews
When Annie moves from London to a small town in the midwest, she struggles to fit in. She gets off to a bad start when she makes an enemy of her school's queen bee, Kelsey. But she discovers a new passion, the exciting sport of roller derby, and makes friends with the cool and quirky girls on her team, the Liberty Belles. She also meets Jesse, the friendly boy who works at ...more
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Capstone (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  126 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Big Book Little Book
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Caroline for
Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was browsing for titles when the cover for Roller Girls: Falling Hard caught my eye. While it’s bright pink cover and kookie styling, makes it hard to miss, what really grabbed my attention was the subject matter – a female dominated, full contact, team sport, populated by awesome kick arse women on retro quad skates* – like our protagonist, this Brit was ignorant, and fascinated.

Annie has had som
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It has been a while since I have read a 5/5 star book. Though directed towards teens, Falling Hard is the perfect summer read even for YA lovers!

Annie is fourteen and had just moved to Liberty Heights, Illinois with her father; leaving her life in London behind. Her first of day of school turns out to be just as she has seen in all the American Teenage movies -- haughty kids, stuck up cheerleaders, model-like jocks, and of course the unwanted attention of being the new girl – her 5’11 height and
*Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This was an adorable story with a twist of bad-ass roller girls... they made me want to grab my skates and run to the nearest roller derby club and attempt to skate! (For me, thats the first step.)

The cover is gorgeous, I love the theme of yellow as it causes it to stand out and the whole roller-derby-game-face thing going on, very creepy which makes me scared and not want to face her.

Annie is a fourteen-year-old teen and just moved fr
Emily Condon
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great girly teen read with a sporty story line with undertones of romance but no insta-love! YES!

The plot was progressive and made a great coming of age story for younger readers experiencing the YA genre for the first time. There is no elicit content yet it is still an enjoyable read for an older or more experienced reader. The progression of the plot was good and very subtle. There are romantic undertones but it is not a poignant and overwhelming element of the novel which is something tha
Received an ARC from the publisher at Netgalley.

When I first saw this cover, I expected a story with lots of action or a real life situation. Then I read the blurb, and I fell in love. :)

This book is about Annie, a British girl who moves with her dad to the US. Her parents are divorced and her dad wanted to go back to his old place and start a cafe/restaurant.

I really loved this book. For many reasons. I really like the differences between British and American, and how both sides always get a b
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
* I received this book from the publisher, via Netgalley*

Falling Hard is the story of Annie, former gymnast from London, and the way she reshapes her life. Annie makes the hard decision to come to the States with her American-born dad, because of her parents separation, leaving her mom behind in London. Her whole life has been her gymnastics, which she has to give up... But Annie also loves roller-skating, punk bands of the 80's, and her dad's cooking. She goes to a local roller derby bout, and
M.B. Mulhall
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
*I received a copy via Net Galley in return for an honest review*

A fun light read that's suitable for a younger crowd (perfect for your Middle Grade aged readers who are reading on a YA level). There's no swearing, no risque situations and a very present parent figure (uncommon in a lot of YA stuff).

It's definitely a coming of age kind of story where Annie is learning to fit in with a new school, new friends and a new culture. Readers get a taste of the kind of culture shock a British teen might
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow. This is pretty good. Light and fun. :) BTW, is it just me? LOL. I feel proud of Annie and I feel tears of happiness coming out of my eyes. >,<

I love Annie! I love her Dad too! They are such an awesome pair for a Dad and daughter. They moved from London back to her Dad's neighborhood in the States. It's nice to see that she adapted well. Also, I love that her Dad is so awesome. Supporting his daughter in all things and still managed to be such an awesome father. LOL.

He supported Annie
Anu Vaarama
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really nice. Good plot, fluently written. Also translated very well - I read this in Finnish.
I would really like to thank Curious Fox for generously giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The fact that I received this book for free has no impact on the content of my review. I elected to give this book 4 stars because of the positive messages and potential impact this book can have on younger readers. It is a sweet read for an adult, but very clearly targeting the middle grades and early teens.

Goodreads Description:
When Annie moves from London to a small town in
Zoe Dortch

“Roller Girls Falling Hard” is a good book because it’s shows how a being a static character can be a good thing. I think that it is a good book because it teaches the readers that you should always follow your heart no matter what anyone tells you.
“Roller Girls Falling Hard” is a story about a girl named Annie who moves with her dad to Chicago and tries out for the cheer team and roller derby and makes both teams, but she decided to play derby instead of cheer because she wanted to try somethin
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
The original review for this title can be found HERE on The Book Hookup.

Christina's Review:

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Initial Thoughts and Actual Rating: I’m giving this an actual rating of 3.5 stars! At fourteen years old, Annie is a little younger than
My original review for this title can be found HERE on The Book Hookup.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Initial Thoughts and Actual Rating: I’m giving this an actual rating of 3.5 stars! At fourteen years old, Annie is a little younger than the heroines I typical
Kate McMurry
Terrific, YA, girl-power sports adventure suitable for all ages

Annie is the fourteen-year-old daughter of an American father and a British mother, who met and married when her father was a student in London. When their marriage recently ended, Annie opted to move with her father to Liberty Heights, Illinois, the small town where he grew up. Though Annie misses her mother and all her friends in London, she couldn't bear the thought of being separated from her father, who is sweet, funny, and has
The SMART Book Club
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Title: Falling Hard
Author: Megan Sparks
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Pages: 255
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3.5/5
Source: Netgalley

Annie R. Key is in for a huge change – she’s moving to the States. After living in London her whole life, this 14 year old is moving to a whole other continent with her father. But fitting in with the crazy, high-school students in her new hometown is harder than Annie had ever thought it would be. Between making an enemy of the most popular girl in school, and fallin
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-read-ya
I had high hopes for Falling Hard. Sports book for teens that features a female protagonist? Awesome. Diverse characters that don't subscribe to stereotypes? Awesome. Sports book about derby? OH MY GOD, awesome.
So what went wrong? Probably the oversight of some of the more important and endearing aspects of derby and a storyline which lost its originality.

The premise:
Annie has just moved from London to a small, midwestern town in the States. Almost immediately, she makes an enemy of her new scho
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

Annie has a choice to make: become a fearless roller girl, or join become a British All-American cheerleader with the head cheerleader already marking you on her list.

After growing up in London, Annie relocates to the Midwest to live with her American father after her parents separated; leaving her life behind and starting high school as both a freshman and a foreigner. Wanting to please her dad, she tries out for the cheer-leading team, even though the c
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really like reading or watching anything to do with Roller Derby, it may be because I have no balance myself so I love to live vicariously through others...and watch them fall down....hard.
Falling Hard is Annie's story, she has just moved to Illinois from England, with her father. He is starting a business and she is staring a new life, thousands of miles away from home. Within the first few days of being in Illinois Annie literally bumps into the popular girl, while trying to avoid a dog, by
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Annie is the new girl in a small, Midwestern town and not only is she dealing with going from big city to small town, but England to America. When her parents separated, Annie decided to go back to her Dad's hometown with him and help him open the café that has been his dream for quite some time now. Struggling to find her own place in a new and strange life, Annie is drawn to both cheerleading (as a substitute for gymnastics) and roller derby. Making friends with her next door neighbor Lexie, a ...more
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well "derby girl" before reading this book I never know this term before, and I wish that I would was familiar with it in my time ( this is why that paragraphs who describe the game detail made me a little strange and of course there were a lot descriptions of those). But... It seams that this sport encourages team-work, girl power, and individuality to girls (and women) who may not feel like they "fit in" anywhere else. Girls of all shapes, sizes and skill levels are accepted in this sport.

Charli - To Another World
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read this review and many more at To Another World

Joint review for Falling Hard and Hell's Belles!

I was sent these books for review from Curious Fox in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Falling Hard and Hell's Belles are the first two books in the Roller Girls' series about a girl named Annie who has to move to the USA with her dad. She discovers roller derby and meets lots of new people!

The books are contemporary reads that are short, sweet and exciting! I read both
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Annie and her father move from London, England to her father's small home town in Illinois where her father plans on opening a cafe. While searching for a place to fit in at high school Annie makes new friends (including artist best friend Lexie)and tries to decide whether her gymnastics replacement should be cheer leading or roller derby.

This was a nice coming of age tale that most tween girls will be able to relate to in some way. There is a small love triangle forming but as the book is part
Jul 19, 2013 rated it liked it
After the separation of her parents causes her to move from her hometown of London to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere in the midwest US, Annie knows that she will have a huge struggle to fit in with her new peers. In London, Annie was a star gymnast, always part of a winning team, but here in the US she just can't seem to find her niche. The closest sport her new school has to gymnastics is cheerleading, but does Annie really want to hang out with the snooty primadonnas who have already tri ...more
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This review can be found it all it's bloggy glory here:

I think one of my reasons for requesting this book was that a lot of other bloggers who are part of Team Fox, also requested it and loved it! Plus, I really liked the description since it just convinces me even more that this might just be an awesome book. Unfortunately, I don't think I liked it as much as I thought I would..

I have to say that what I loved the most about this book, was the Roller Der
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Annie moves with her father from London to a small town in Illinois, where she struggles to fit in, but discovers a new passion—and a supportive community—in the exciting world of roller derby.

Overall this is slightly formulaic, with stock characters; from the clichéd antagonist the nasty queen bee, to the hot boy love interest, the cool hip girlfriend, and the skate rat male friend who the heroine maybe should end up with other than the stud but of course that’s what sequels are for.

Once roller
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Cute—girl moves to new country; girl discovers cheerleading and roller derby at the same time; shenanigans ensue. It's all pretty low-stakes drama: there's some family stuff and some mean-girls-at-school stuff, but Annie maintains a reasonable head on her shoulders.

The one thing I really would have liked to see here: Annie tries out for both the cheerleading squad and the roller derby team, and she's forced to choose between them pretty quickly (a choice made easier by the fact that one team is
Jun 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Annie makes the move from London to the States with her father to be with him when he opens a London inspired cafe. She has to not only learn the terminology that the Americans use but also figure out where her niche is with school. The story follows Annie as she decides whether she wants to be popular and thus gain the attention of soccer star Tyler by joining the cheerleading squad or join the roller derby team where the group of girls are more welcoming to her.

This is great for a younger tee
Nov 27, 2013 rated it liked it
"Falling Hard" is the story of 14-year-old Annie who has recently moved to the U.S. with her father from London – it is the first in the “Roller Girls” series which will follow the teenage girls taking part in a roller derby team. As Annie navigates her first days in high school, she meets cute boys, mean girls, tries out for cheerleading, and discovers the world of roller derby. This book is clearly meant to set the foundation for a series of books, so there's actually not much in the way of pl ...more
Alisha Tarran
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
When her parents divorce, Annie decides to go with her Dad back to his native town in the US, for a new start after she had to stop competing in gymnastics due to her new height. Struggling to fit in, with the Kelsey the schools queen bee as her enemy, she tries to rekindle her Gymnastics love by trying out for the cheerleading team. At the same time she hears about Roller Derby, and decides to give a workshop a shot. As she finds herself discovering a new passion for the Roller Derby, she also ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: underhyped-books
Roller Girls: Falling Hard by Megan Sparks Review I was definitely excited to read this book knowing it was about roller derby. I’ve never participated in the sport, but it always looked like fun and craziness. I was not let down! Lots of roller and lots of derby. With a peppering of cheerleading and high school drama mixed in.
I thought it was interesting to have a perspective of a Londoner moving to the midwest because I’ve read a couple of novels that do the opposite (American moving to Englan
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Megan Sparks is the author of the Roller Girls series. The first two books in the series, Falling Hard and Hell's Belles, were published by Capstone Young Readers in 2013. Kirkus Reviews called Falling Hard a "fun romp of a girls' sports story."

Other books in the series

Roller Girls (4 books)
  • Hell's Belles (Roller Girls #2)
  • In a Jam (Roller Girls #3)
  • Boot Camp Blues (Roller Girls, #4)