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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  64 reviews
When Lauren (but call him “Ren,” pretty please) Hall sees birds falling from the sky, he knows something is wrong. But just as he’s starting to worry, he realizes that the birds are plummeting toward the ground on purpose.

Turns out they’re Birmingham Roller Pigeons, and his new neighbor Sutton is training them for a competition.

Sure, it’s strange, but Ren’s best and only f
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published May 25th 2017 by HarperCollins
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Darcy Miller Jenn, Competitive pigeon rolling is a strange but awesome hobby that involves training a kit of birds to simultaneously somersault backward through th…moreJenn, Competitive pigeon rolling is a strange but awesome hobby that involves training a kit of birds to simultaneously somersault backward through the air while flying. Despite the fact that he's deathly allergic to them, my dad is a Master Flyer (real term, I swear) of Birmingham Rollers, and at one point placed fifth in the World Cup Roller Fly! (less)

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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  178 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Ben Miller
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I may be a tad biased, but this book is amazing! It also contains my personal philosophy on onion rings.
Katherine Locke
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An utterly delightful novel about a boy's coming of age, friendships in flux, and embracing who he is. Highly rec. ...more
Roll is a charming and funny middle grade book. It's perfect for anyone who has felt like an outsider trying to find a place to fit in. Kids will relate to the challenges of navigating tween social groups and adults will love Ren's dorky humor sprinkled throughout. This is a great book for adults and tweens to read together.

Ren is a whip-smart comic-book reader who has just moved away from his best friend, Aiden. Feeling pressured to try running by his Dad, he stumbles across Sutton, his nearest
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I ADORED this book. Southern Minnesota, comic books, the uncertainty of friendship, growing up, and pigeons. Reading the descriptions of Ren stepping into the pigeon coop was like stepping into my childhood - growing up, my next-door neighbor raised pigeons and I loved spending warm summer afternoons in the musty shed.

Miller does an excellent job of exploring how friendships change and evolve as kids get older. ROLL is funny, honest, and touching.
Amanda Searcy
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roller Pigeons. I didn't even know that was a thing, but now, like Ren, I am a little obsessed! This is a fun, humorous, absolutely fascinating book about friendship, growing up, and being true to yourself. (Ren's voice and fun facts are extra entertaining.) Truly a book for the whole family--but be warned, you will spend a lot of time on You Tube watching pigeons roll! ...more
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
This was such a beautifully down-to-earth MG novel! I loved the characters and loved how important family and friendship is in the story.
Alexandra Ott
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is so charming! It's equal parts hilarious and heartfelt. Ren's voice is so perfect, and Sutton completely won my heart. A delightful read that I highly recommend! ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
This is a nice, coming-of-age story - well-written yet I'm afraid it might not stick with me, except for how Birmingham Roller pigeons are featured. I liked how Ren made some efforts to change and improve himself, yet also realized the ways in which he wanted to stay true to himself too.

I'm looking forward to seeing this author speak at the Wisconsin Library Association conference next week.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is such a precious and realistic book. Miller nails trying, and stumbling along, to find your place in your family and your social circles. Well done!
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
A boy named Lauren is trying so hard to like running. Instead, he keeps getting distracted by Birmingham Rollers -- daredevil stunt pigeons. Can you blame him?
Gabrielle Schwabauer
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-challenge
I loved the voice in this novel. I want to read a dozen more books by this author. The only reason this stayed a three-star book is because the novel never really hit any high points—just solid all the way through.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Spectacular book - on the quiet side as Ren finds himself alone for the summer after moving away from town. That means running and hanging out with himself until he meets Sutton who trains pigeons. I absolutely loved this book and learned so much. Plus, Ren is a great character full of flaws as he struggles to find himself. His interesting scientific notes are awesome. Highly recommend - a great 0ld-fashioned book about summer, growing up and pigeons!
Jennifer Fenn
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Darcy Miller's debut MG novel "Roll" is a refreshing take on some universal trials of early adolescence: identity, fitting in and friendships. Ren, Miller's funny and very likable protagonist, meets Sutton, his new neighbor, one morning while he's supposed to be out training for the cross country team. Sutton has a unique interest: pigeon rolling. Ren and Sutton strike up a friendship and Ren begins helping her train her birds. What will his best friend Aiden, who's suddenly started hanging with ...more
Amanda Hosch
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
ROLL is a fantastic read: great dialogue, true middle grade voice, quirky and interesting details about pigeons and life.
Ren (full name Lauren, but please don't call him that) Hall has just moved into a new house in the country. It's actually an old house--his grandparents--and it's still full of their things. However, it's only 8 miles from his old home so he'll still go to the same school and still see his best friend all the time. It's not like his best friend has grown three inches and is s
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and I've got a handful of friends with younger kids who are going to be getting a copy sometime in the near future. Not only is it wonderfully unique with it's focus on truly small town Minnesota and pigeon rolling, but it deals with change is such an honest and moving way.

I wish I'd had - or found - a book like this when I was a kid. Honestly, there was a time in my 20s when I really could have used some insight. I didn't just hate change, I was completely unprepared for it.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Roll" is a fantastic story about learning who you are and how to stay true to yourself. The characters and their interactions with each other are all realistic, and they each play into the story in some way.

In summary, Ren is a relatable dorky boy who has recently moved out of town to his Grandma's old house. He's taken on cross country, even though running kills him every time (I told you he's relatable), but later finds a passion in training pigeons for a competition with his neighbor Sutton.
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When Ren Hall’s BFF, Aiden, starts hanging out with the popular kids over the summer, Ren is left at loose ends—until he meets Sutton Davies, the new girl in town. Sutton, with her flaming red hair and penchant for Violent Femmes T-shirts, is not your average 11-year-old, Ren soon discovers. She is a Birmingham Roller Pigeon fancier, and now that her dad is laid up in the hospital, she needs a new training partner for the upcoming National Birmingham Roller Club competition. But is Ren, a comic- ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 17s
The one thing I loved even more than learning about Birmingham Roller Pigeons (and I loved that A LOT) was Ren's voice. Lauren Hall, aka Ren, has the most perfect, most quirky, snarky-funny middle-grade voice ever. He's self-aware, and funny enough to melt through tension and let us see beyond the stress of certain excruciating middle-schoolish situations. How welcome this approach, and this perspective, will be to certain young readers!

This book has a lot of heart, a quiet, funny sense of humo
Rebecca Donnelly
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ren thinks he wants to follow in his father's footsteps, quite literally, by going out for the cross-country team, but he doesn't really enjoy running. It's certainly not as interesting as what his new neighbor, Sutton, does every morning as he jogs by: Sutton is training her Birmingham Roller Pigeons to compete in a championship fly. As Ren's new friendship with Sutton is beginning, his lifelong friendship with Aiden hits a rocky patch. Darcy Miller's charming debut offers a thoughtful, funny t ...more
Joanne O'Sullivan
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, my! I just loved these characters so much I wanted to scoop them up and bring them home to live with me. In this pitch-perfect middle grade novel set over the course of the summer between fifth and sixth grade, good-natured, comic book-loving Ren meets a new friend- a girl named Sutton whose hobby is pigeon rolling- and starts to break away from an old one- Aiden, who's been his best friend since kindergarden. Miller perfectly captures the growing pains of that period when a kid is branching ...more
Teresa Garrett
Lauren, or Ren as he prefers to be called is going through some life changes: his family has moved out to the country away from his best friend in Aiden in town, he's trying to become a competitive runner to please his dad, and he meets Sutton the new girl who lives next door. Ren is having trouble sorting things out: Is is best friend making cool new friends and leaving him behind? Should he keep running to please his dad even though he is not enjoying it at all? Can Sutton become his friend?

Anastasia Tuckness
Fantasy is all the rage these days, so it's nice when a truly realistic book like this one comes along--a book that really could happen, about normal kids!

Ren (boy) and Sutton (girl) have each recently moved to the country, next door to each other, and are trying to get through the summer. As is typical for middle school books (and students!), Ren realizes that his (former) best friend Aiden is now hanging out with a (cooler) guy, leading to some dilemmas and some hilarious scenes, including a w
Ames Public Library Youth Services
Fantasy is all the rage these days, so it's nice when a truly realistic book like this one comes along--a book that really could happen, about normal kids!

Ren (boy) and Sutton (girl) have each recently moved to the country, next door to each other, and are trying to get through the summer. As is typical for middle school books (and students!), Ren realizes that his (former) best friend Aiden is now hanging out with a (cooler) guy, leading to some dilemmas and some hilarious scenes, including a w
Stephanie Bange
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
The summer Lauren (“Ren”) Hall’s family moves into his late grandmother’s home is a pivotal one.

He and his childhood best friend Aiden are moving apart, he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and try out for the cross-country team, and his new neighbor Sutton introduces him to the world of training pigeons. It all comes to a head when Ren and Sutton attend the pool party being thrown by Aiden’s new buddy, the popular Kurt. This middle grade book is full of the angst expected from this
Maria Antonia
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Basic plot: Ren and his family have moved out of town to his grandma's old farmhouse in the country. Under his dad's guidance, he's in training to run cross-country. During one early morning run, he meets Sutton, the (new) girl next door, and discovers that she's training Birmingham Roller Pigeons. As Ren tries to find his footing (how to relate to the best friend he left behind, how to improve his run times, etc), he also finds himself drawn to Sutton and her pigeons. Now, if only he can get th ...more
Karen Stanton
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this sweet book about a boy and a girl who meet when different circumstances bring them to a small town. Lauren is adjusting after moving into his grandparents' house, and Sutton is adjusting after moving from the big city and having her father get into a terrible accident. Their paths cross when Lauren (who is trying to train for cross country to please his father) comes across pigeons "rolling" from the sky and joins Sutton in the world of Birmingham roller pigeons - a phenomenon that ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family-reading
This was a great read aloud book for our family because:
(1) My 9 year old was belly laughing out loud at Ren's humor (and we all need to hear more belly laughs).
(2) My 9 year old didn't want to put the book down, and was willing to read aloud (which doesn't always happen).
(3) There were interesting literary and thematic elements making this a good book for home learning.
(4) It provided a great opportunity to talk about changing family and friend relationships, common for this phase of life.
(5) I
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Roll is good. Like, underappreciated good.

The glut of middle-grade books out there, with their fancy covers and hope-to-become-a-series styling, subscribe to the more is more mentality and beat-you-over-the-head messaging, often about self-fulfillment (at age 12??) or social/racial justice. The authors of those books could take a cue from Darcy Miller and keep. it. simple.

What worked for Roll was its straight-forward plot, small cast of characters, and a unique topic to spearhead it all. Pigeo
Robyn Arend
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This book felt a little bit like a quiet evening at home. It was a comfortable read, not too tense or colorful. A solid three stars.

Ren has just moved from the city into a farm house in Minnesota. It is the summer before sixth grade and Ren has the sneaking suspicion that his best friend is changing into someone Ren doesn't want to be friends with.

Enter the girl next door. Sutton is new to the small farm town. Ren is immediately drawn to her, not because of her colored hair or black t-shirt st
Debbie Tanner
This is a coming of age story set in a rural part of southern Minnesota. Ren lives with his parents in his grandparents former house where they just moved. It's close to their old house so he still sees his old friends and goes to his same school, but things are different. A girl moves into the house closest to them and she's really different-she's from Washington, DC, her hair is wildly colored and she's training pigeons. But it turns out they have more in common then Ren initially thought and ...more
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Darcy Miller is the author of ROLL (Winner of the 2018 Burr/Worzalla Award * A CCBC Choices 2018 Pick * A Bank Street Best Children's Book of 2017) and MARGOT AND MATEO SAVE THE WORLD (Booklist Starred Review). She lives with her librarian husband and two small children in Wisconsin. ...more

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