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Roll with It

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,367 ratings  ·  439 reviews
The story of an irrepressible girl with cerebral palsy whose life takes an unexpected turn when she moves to a new town.

Ellie’s a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she’s going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing is, Ellie has big dreams: She might be eating Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’s going
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,367 ratings  ·  439 reviews

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Apr 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
“Parents of disabled kids stop writing books about disability like you experience it” challenge.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Absolutely no one!
Shelves: dnf-or-skim
DNF for Roll with It. I could not take any more of Ellie's self-deprecating narration--she constantly calls herself "cripple" and "ugly", and says that her body is useless and that there's no way any boy would find her attractive. (Also, hello, heteronormativity, not pleased to meet you!) No one calls Ellie out on all this. Apparently Sumner is the mother of a kid with cerebral palsy, and if this is the way she thinks, I feel bad for the kid. Yes, internalized ableism is sadly a thing, but this ...more
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Sometimes the best plan is the one you don't make for yourself."

Don't let this whimsical cover confuse you into thinking this is a clichéd or cartoonish story.

This middle grades read about a 12-year-old competitive baker with cerebral palsy earned a blue ribbon at our house.

The author, Jamie Sumner, is a writer and a mother to a son with CP, and her expertise with the condition is obvious.

There's humor here (a person is not their condition), and Ellie may be bound to a wheelchair, but she's sna
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because my niece uses a wheelchair and I thought it was super cool that there was a young girl in a wheelchair on the front cover of this book. So I wanted to check out the rep and see if this was something that I could recommend to her. And honestly, I would.

It is a sweet book with a spunky main character. There are a lot of real issues in this book which is great and unexpected for a middle grade book. Ellie is an independent girl who is dealing with a lot, CP, moving, lo
I loved this book--I couldn't put it down. I loved Ellie, and I loved her family, her two friends, and Hutch! I don't come across too many books where the main character has a disability and I love it when I find one that is so full of heart. It was helpful to see the challenges that Ellie faces on a daily basis, and how she feels about the things she can and cannot change. I love how she worries more about her grandpa than about herself, and how she loves her family fiercely. And I love how muc ...more
May 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is filled with one ableist trope after another. There are so many ableist slurs. Publishing, I am begging you: Stop letting ableds (even—or maybe especially—those with disabled children) tell disabled stories.
Ms. Yingling
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Ellie and her mother live in Nashville; her father left when she was young and has another family. Ellie loves baking, and gets along okay at school. She has an aide who helps her navigate with her wheelchair, but Lauren is also another level of supervision that makes it really hard to get away with any misbehavior. After a recent incident at school, Ellie is expecting to get in trouble with her mom, but a lot of other things are going on. On the bright side, Ellie's neu
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Representation matters, but I wonder if maybe this took a spot or resources from another middle-grade novel written by someone who was actually disabled. How many books with little girls in wheelchairs on the cover is Target going to stock? How much would it suck to be disabled and realize that this decent rep is another way a disability parent gets to talk down to you?

Other than the ubiquitous "crazy" slur on mental health, I didn't see any egregious ableist takes (I am physically abled and not
Calleen Petersen
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the book. From a reader’s perspective, it flows well. The characters are developed and real. There is a real story there that makes you laugh and cheer.
As a Mom of a special needs kid, this book rocks! We need more books like this that show what our kids can do and that they are people just like us. I was impressed with how seamlessly she brought issues like the girl being afraid that one day she would be put in a home, and the way in which she handles it.
I love everything Jamie Sumner w
Renee Godding
Dec 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
I'm always on the hunt for books with good representation of disability especially aimed at children and there's little I hate more than having to rate them low, as they're so few and far between to start with. Then there are books like this, and I have to wonder: really people.... Is this the representation we want our kids to see...

More indepth thought to come.
Abby Johnson
Ellie's voice grabbed me from the first page and just wouldn't let go. I honestly couldn't put this book down. This is a story with a lot of heart and humor and an absolutely unforgettable protagonist. Author Jamie Sumner has a son with CP, so she writes from a place of experience with CP and wheelchairs and the like. I don't have the knowledge to judge how accurate this story is to a disability experience, but coming from a writer who has a lot of experience with a close family member with a di ...more
mindful.librarian ☀️
What a special story! The fact that the author has a son with cerebral palsy makes this much more authentic than many other MG stories about children living with physical differences and I so appreciated the author’s candor. But this story isn’t just about physical ability and that makes it even more special - it’s a window or mirror demonstrating that kids with different bodies deal with the same type of hard stuff as anyone else - ailing grandparents, classism, divorced parents, etc. Oh and I ...more
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
"When you're like me, you get used to seeing your body as a separate thing. Leg one. Leg two. Muscles and hair and a heart that beats. It makes it all a little less embarrassing when people are always putting their hands on you." p.70

"It's why I like to bake. When you're doing something that takes all your brain power, the world kind of falls away and leaves you alone." p. 113

"People stopped looking over me and look at me now. It's nice." p. 207
May 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF. This book is incredibly ableist. There are so many problems with this book that I gave up on finishing it. I wish I could give it 0 stars.

Abled parents of disabled kids need to stop writing about what it's like to be disabled, especially if you write in the first person. STOP SPEAKING OVER DISABLED PEOPLE AND LET US SPEAK ABOUT WHAT BEING DISABLED IS LIKE.
Jun 12, 2019 added it
UPDATE: May 18/20

Although I really enjoyed this story, I will no longer be reviewing books with neurodiverse characters unless they are written by ownvoices authors as I don't feel qualified to comment on the representation.
Tara Strosnider
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Twelve year old Ellie who has cerebral palsy finds her life transformed when she moves with her mother to small town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather who has Alzheimer's Disease. ...more
Jessica Woodbury
The kids chose this as an audiobook for a short road trip, and I was all for it, since it can be hard to find books with any disabled kids in them. But ultimately I can't really recommend this one, though. While it does give some general kids-in-wheelchairs-are-kids-too stuff, it never really rises above that. Ellie is snarky and often abrasive, which is fine, but that makes up pretty much her entire personality. I was surprised to hear the word "cripple" used so often, and to have a character s ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interest Level: 5-8

Have you ever had to move to a new city, a new state, and a new school? It's not easy is it? Now imagine you have to do it from a wheelchair. This is the life of Ellie Cowan. Ellie has Cerebral Palsy and has lived her whole life in a wheelchair. Sometimes when you see a girl in a wheelchair you think she will be all sunshine and roses... but not Ellie. She speaks her mind and tells it like it is. She stands up for herself always and is very independent. Ellie and her mom live
Alex  Baugh
Elly Cowan wasn't particularly happy when her mother moved her from Nashville, Tennessee to Eufaula, Oklahoma over the Christmas holiday to help her Mema care for her grandfather, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Elly is confined to a wheelchair because of Cerebral Palsy and really doesn't want to go through the whole "new kid in school in a wheelchair" thing again. Plus they will be staying with Mema and Grandpa in their trailer, a small space for a wheelchair that requires he ...more
Samantha (WLABB)
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary, mg, arcs, diverse
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Though Ellie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, she was fiercely independent. However, after her grandfather's dementia progressed, she and her mother moved to Oklahoma, in order to care for him. As if being the new kid wasn't hard enough, she was also the only one in a wheelchair in a town lacking accessibility. Despite those drawbacks, Ellie began to settle in, and was thinking this could be her new home. All she had to do was convince her mother.

What a wonderful and
Janell Madison
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Roll With It” by Jamie Sumner is a very real book. Real in the sense that it talks about a lot of big issues that middle school kids face. The cliques, the have’s and the have not’s, who lives where, how to handle the first day at a new school. And, Ellie is going through all of it in her wheelchair.

When Ellie and her Mom need to move to help care for her Grandparents, Ellie cannot believe she has to start over at a new school. And, she has to convince her Mom she isn’t a baby anymore. After a
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lynne
*Review is of an advanced reader copy

In a word - terrific! This is the absolutely delightful tale of a twelve-year-old girl, wheelchair bound due to cerebral palsy, who refuses to play the victim. Ellie is spunky and determined, blessed with a wry sense of humor and grit. When she and her mother move to Oklahoma to assist with the care of her grandfather, she continues to roll along in spite of the "new girl" status and trailer park residence. Soon befriended by a couple of other outsiders, Elli
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I randomly came across this book one day at Target. The cover drew my attention because my 11-year-old uses a wheelchair and has CP. When I read her Ellie's description of what it's like to have an aide at school (my daughter also has a 1:1), about having an adult near you all the time and treating you like your fragile and having to have help using the bathroom, she said, "I would say that is all accurate. Is she writing about my life or something?"

It's nice to see characters my daughter can i
Bonnie Grover
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: student
“You will never be normal.” Ellie is a middle school student with big dreams. She is also the the new girl in a new town and a new school. She’s the new kid in a wheelchair. I loved her spunk and her ability to make friends and find a space for herself. “Sometimes the best plan is the one you don’t make for yourself.” I know this is going to be a student favorite!
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lily has cerebral palsy, and she really isn't interested in inspiring able-bodied people to have sappy thoughts about rainbows and kittens. What she is interested in is baking! She dreams of becoming a famous chef when she grows up, but for now she is struggling with family issues and adolescence.

Her mother has raised her alone after her father left because he decided he couldn't cope with having a disabled child. But the current drama is her grandfathers oncoming dementia, which prompted Lill
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a delightful story about a young girl named Ellie with cerebral palsy. She struggles with starting over when her and her mom move to help care for her aging grandparents. Starting a new school is hard enough when you don’t live with disabilities, and for Ellie it was hard. Ellie is able to make some new friends and show that she is more than just “the girl in the wheel chair” when she shares her love for baking!
I have had some children in my preschool with cerebral palsy, but my unders
Gretchen Taylor
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read- sharing this with my own third grader all the way up to my eighth graders and adults.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started this book enthusiastic, but my enthusiasm waned as the book went on. However, I was still impressed by it as a middle-grade novel as a whole, and found it refreshingly clean of agendas or modern movements. There was no romance, no innuendo, no subtle pushing; instead, simply a story of a flawed family with a lot of love. I really liked how Ellie’s mom was very much imperfect—portraying parents like this is rare in MG but soooo necessary. Ellie’s character growth was pretty amazing and ...more
Shaye Miller
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
12-year-old Ellie is bright, witty, and full of spunk! She just so happens to have cerebral palsy, use a wheel chair, and occasionally needs help with a few every day tasks. But that certainly doesn’t change the fact that she has hopes and dreams and joys and hurts just like everyone else. In the beginning of this story, Ellie’s mom moves her from Tennessee to Oklahoma so they can help with Ellie’s grandfather who suffers from dementia. And it doesn’t take long for Ellie to make herself at home ...more
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Jamie Sumner is the author of the critically-acclaimed middle-grade novel, Roll with It. Her second middle-grade novel, Tune It Out, with Atheneum Books for Young Readers comes out September 1st, 2020. She is also the author of the nonfiction parenting books, Eat, Sleep, Save the World and Unbound.

She has written for the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as other publications and is

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