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Whip It

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  3,360 Ratings  ·  494 Reviews
Skirts, Skates, & Scrapes!
All the old school skills with a new punk rock attitude
Come see The Lone Star Derby Girls
Austin's All-Girl Roller Derby League
The Holy Rollers vs. The Fight Crew
Halftime Concert by the Chimney Sweeps
This ain't no cheerleading clinic, y'all!

Meet Bliss Cavendar, an indie-rock-loving misfit stuck in the tiny town of Bodeen, Texas. Her pageant-add
Paperback, 234 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Square Fish (first published September 1st 2007)
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Oct 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chicklit, kids, own
Full disclosure: I'm a derby girl who saw Whip It twice before it was officially released. I'm also a devout fan of Drew Barrymore, and Ellen Page. This book had to really hustle to come anywhere near a movie that I really enjoyed and believed.

Since I just recently saw the movie, of course, I'm left comparing the book. In a rare occurrence, I actually preferred the movie. Unfortunately, this means my review is a lot more about how well the movie managed things that the book didn't.

Ultimately, th
Jul 28, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009

I hope that Shauna Cross is a better screenwriter than an author. The book reads from the perspective of a sixteen year old girl, but the writing style is as developed as that of a nine year old girl. Somehow this book managed to make feminist rebel girl culture look lame and immature. "How could my best friend shoplift without me? That was OUR thing!"

The characters: square-peg blue-haired rebel girl, stern overbearing mother who wants daughter to be a "lady", apathetic dad, picture perfec
When Jason and I started dating, one of the first "summer fun in Montreal" activitites we did together was attend a ton of roller derby games. After watching the New Skids on the Block give the Sexpos a good trashing, he asked me if I'd seen the movie "Whip It!", which I hadn't. He didn't waste much time correcting that, and I was pretty happy because I loved the movie. When I saw that Shauna Cross had written the screenplay based on her novel "Derby Girl", I wanted to check it out.

This is one o
Aug 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This book inspired me to be a Roller Derby girl. Strike that, it inspired me to attempt long boarding, which was great fun, but not something I think I have any business doing. Anywho, onto the good stuff.

Bliss hates her life. She is an emo punk rocker, minus the rocker skills, stuck in small town U.S.A. No one except for her nerdy best friend Pash understands her and her mother seems hell-bent on tormenting her with her intense desire to turn her Goth obsessed daughter into a superficial beotch
Melissa Pilakowski
When I watched this movie for the first time, I imagined what a great novel this could have been. I loved the awkwardness of Ellen Page, the rich characters of Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern as her parents, and the overall touching coming of age story. At the end of the movie, I saw in the credits that it was based on a book by Shauna Cross.

At that moment I had two thoughts: The first was Damn, I would've loved to write a book with this storyline. The second was, I need to get this book.

I do
Bliss Cavendar is dying in the cultural desert that is Bodeen, Tx. Bliss does not look like your average Bodeen resident, with her blue hair and 80's bands t-shirts. Her life is changed when she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin, and decides to try out. After a few falls on her old barbie skates, Bliss is reborn as Babe Ruthless, jammer for the Hurl Scouts. She hides her participation from her parents, and her age from the other girls on the team (must be 18 to try out). While jug ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this book. I've been putting off buying it and putting off buying it ever since I first watched the film, and I'm never usually one to worry about that kind of thing. I love books and I love films, and I can usually appreciate both for what they are, but that film was so close to my heart that I was scared to read this incase they had messed up the film majorly. I am so, so pleased to say that that wasn't the case. This book was better than the film, in my opinion, and here is ...more
Feb 03, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Other KCRWs...what do you guys think of this?
Shelves: j-and-ya
Stone me now, but I hated this. I thought the portrayal of derby was incorrect in several instances (a 16 year old sneaks on the team, and no one knows?) and the character was a little unlikable to me. Writing style was immature and underdeveloped. Yuck.
This was such a fun read. I loved the story, but the writing style wowed me even more.
While taking a slightly Hollywood view of view of both adolescence and roller derby; this is a tightly plotted, enjoyable, quick read. The first few chapters I couldn't shake the sound of Ellen Page's voice as a voiceover—despite only having seen the movie Whip It (which was born of Shauna Cross' novel) once, more than three years ago. However, as the story begins to move forward, the narrative voice finds its footing, and the novel settles into an engaging rhythm.

There are some interesting sho
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: Drew Barrymore
Yeah, that's right. I read a young adult book. Let's all gasp in unison and move on. I should also state immediately that I would not have found out about this book if Drew Barrymore hadn't just made the movie Whip It which is based on this book. While I also don't normally read books just because of the movie that's come out, I actually want to see the movie and can't bring myself to do it seriously without at least trying to read the book. And I love roller derby.

Bliss Cavendar is a 16-year-ol
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, owned
Ok, so it's not nearly as fantastic as the movie, but I loved the book. You can definitely see the similarities, and what I love about the film is that they've kept the tone of the book. Reading it, I could almost hear Ellen Page narrating the whole thing. In terms of adaptations, the film is spectacular!

The voice is quite unique, which I liked, though I felt some of the terms were outdated. Plus there is the whole "I'm not like other girls" element in there, which is super antifeminist (what's
Although I enjoyed this for the roller-derby aspect, I wasn't too keen on the execution. (It pains me to say this, ever, but the movie was better.) Bliss is sixteen, old enough to rebel against her parents but too young to do so effectively; when she discovers roller derby, that changes...sort of.

I'm on board with the idea, on board with books about roller derby,* on board with the contrast of pageant queens and derby girls. But I struggled to get behind Bliss, who rarely transcends 'bratty'; I
May 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popsugar-2016
While the main character's brand of selfish sarcasm wasn't for me, the roller derby aspects of the novel made up for her. Like Bliss, I'm also from small town Texas and frequent the capital city. I loved the references to places I know and love (thank god that Waterloo is still around) but much of the novel felt trite. I hope the movie focuses more on the derby.
Apr 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-to-avoid
Shauna Cross's characters read like they were trying too hard to be "different" and "edgy". Mostly I only had a problem with Bliss, our protagonist, who was more obnoxious than she was endearing. Do yourself a favor and just see the movie instead. Ellen Page at least made Bliss a likable heroine.
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Here is one of the very few cases where the movie is WAY better than the book. Yeah, it happens sometimes, believe it or not.

However, "Derby Girl" it's not a huge disappointment neither. It's just that the book version seemed too green for me, too washy if you compare it with the movie version, "Whip it". Actually, when I knew it was based on a book I was very excited. I'm aware that usually (no matter how indie they are) big screen versions leave a lot of details behind. It doesn't matter if it
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yorwtfiw
Take Bliss Cavendar back about 15 years, subtract cell phones and MySpace – as well as the roller derby happy ending – and her story is eerily similar to my own.

I will probably always be a sucker for the stories where the small-town-music-obsessed-weird-girl escapes to find something better because even though I’m a grown ass woman with a family of my own, part of me will always be that girl that just didn’t fit in.

Like Bliss, the closest town of any size was an hour away – but Sandpoint, Idaho
Oct 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
So here's my issue-- I enjoyed reading this book, but I don't really think it was really very good or anything. How do you rate a book like that? Bliss is a 16-year old self-proclaimed misfit growing up in small town Bodeen, Texas. She is looking for her niche in the world, but is forced by her evil mother to take part in beauty pageants, which is a total indie-rock no-no. Then Bliss finds roller derby, and her life is never the same. The story was fun, and the language was very realistic, but t ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

While wandering through the young adult section of my local library, I came across DERBY GIRL. I had seen the book in the bookstore on other occasions but never bought it. I picked it up at the library and took it home with me. Not knowing what to expect, I started reading, and was instantly enthralled by the life of Bliss Cavender.

Fans of A&E's Rollergirls will especially enjoy this book.

Bliss is too big for Bodeen, Texas. Bliss is a sixteen-year-old
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, young-adult
Sixteen-year-old Bliss hates her smalltown life, especially the part where her mom is trying to live out her dreams of becoming a beauty queen through Bliss. Then one day she sees a poster for a roller derby match and the next thing she knows she's trying out for the team.[return][return]I really enjoyed this book. It's written in that first-person chatty style that is all the rage with YA and chicklit these days, but despite being a bit exposition-heavy in the early chapters (having read more i ...more
Mar 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-loathed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Whymsy Likes Books
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rewiewed
I’m Sure My Coolness Factor Has Gone Up Just By Reading This Book!

In a town where football players are high school gods and their peroxided cheerleader girlfriends reign supreme lives Bliss Cavendar, and her best friend, Pash; Bodeen, Texas’ resident rebels. In love with music and unable to conform to her former-pageant-queen mother’s expectations, Bliss tries to find where she fits. Her salvation comes in the form of Roller Derby, and its witty, tattooed angels. But as with all things, even “cr
Sarah S
Whip It is a phenomenal book by Shauna Cross. Is it about a not so average teenage girl who lives in small town Bodeen, Texas. Bliss Cavender is hating high school with her side kick Pash. They both work together at a local restaurant called the “Oink Joint”. They sneak out at night and go to Austin, Texas and see a roller derby show. They are automatically impressed at the whole derby experience. Here is a quote from the excited Bliss and Pash, “Let’s try out together, I say, in between skips I ...more
Apr 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: girls & women
Shelves: own-it
Picked this up for fun because Randy and I love the movie. I hadn't realized it was a book until I watched the credits all the way thru. so I decided I'd get the book and see if it was as good as the movie – and it is! It's a great story of a misfit girl (Bliss aka “Babe Ruthless” Cavendish”, in a small Texas town. She's totally indie/punk/emo and her mom is totally into beauty pageants – she wants bliss to be the local beauty queen, just as she was. Bliss just wants out of town.

By accident, Bl
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
High school misfit Bliss Cavendar, aka Babe Ruthless, dyes her hair blue, loves indie music and wants OUT of the tiny Texas town that makes her feel like she must have been misplaced by her real family who are surely living in some cool urban setting like San Fransisco or NY City. Instead, Bliss has a beauty pageant obsessed mother who hopes Bliss will be able to win the big name crowns she never did. Bliss is going through the motions to please her mom, mostly keeping her sarcastic thoughts to ...more
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Just so we're clear, Whip It is the exact same book as Derby Girl. I guess after the book was made into a movie, they decided to republish the book with the movie title to sell more copies?

Whip It was a fast, light, entertaining read that I zipped right through. While it was definitely a brain candy book, it had plenty of romance, action, and music references to hold my attention. The writing style was extremely easy to read, the main character was loveable, and the plot was realistic.

The only p
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
First of all, the skating in this book is immense. A lot of people have said this before but this book really does make you want to be a Roller Derby Girl. Anyone who says otherwise is simply lying.

I guess I just expected this book to be a tad more mature then it is. That's not the books fault, it's mine. Don't get me wrong, 14-year-old me would have been re-reading it already. I guess at 21 I've somehow pushed past the whole crushes, school-skipping and lame-parents thing (this is absolutely n
Oct 17, 2009 rated it liked it
I picked up this book a few days later after seeing the movie "Whip It" (which I really enjoyed). I wasn't thrilled when I found out it was a teen book but read it in two sittings. The book is pretty similiar to the movie. It's about Bliss Cavendar, a teenager girl living in the boring town of Bodeen, Texas. With her mother Brooke constantly shoving beauty pageant agenda down her throat, she finds her true passion of skating in the girls' roller derby team the "Hurl Scouts" under the name Babe R ...more
Dec 25, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a fun read. Bliss' mom is trying to have Bliss live out her dreams of beauty queen stardom. But Bliss is more punk rock then beauty queen. She has trouble fitting into her small town, but her friends Pash and Birdman are enough for her. Then she discovers roller derby and Oliver. She loses her way a little bit over the boy thing, but in the end keeps her life together. Her voice is very true, and the majority of the derby details are accurate (although maybe bank track derby is differen ...more
Nov 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
At the risk of sounding like an old lady, I'm kinda over the teenage angst genre. I'm definitely over the phrase "thankyouverymuch." I find that phrase annoying when written in any book, but even more so when it's in an adult's vocabulary. Does anyone even still SAY that? Ugh. Anyways, I'm inspired to watch the movie and to check out the Gotham Rollers in NYC, but that's about all I got from this.
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Shauna Cross is a roller derby athlete, author of Derby Girl, and screenwriter of Whip It!. Her roller derby pseudonym is "Maggie Mayhem," skating for the Los Angeles Derby Dolls.

The book, and film, are fictionalized accounts of an experience skating with the Texas Rollergirls.

She is presently working on a film adaptation of Live Nude Girls Unite.

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“And I know I'm sarcastic and defensive and I make a joke out of everything and am highly resistant to anything that reeks of sentimental corniness, but I'm giving you my heart anyway because being with you feels like home, and I know you won't break it.” 21 likes
“What's coming out of the stereo is like a genre unto itself, a charming, fucked-up fairy tale that immediately breaks my heart in all the best ways.
I stretch out on the floor with my ear parked next to the speaker, in a trance. I place the album cover over my face to block out any interruption as "I'll Be Your Mirror" seduces me. I immediately add the song to my mental list of top ten songs ever.
And as I'm bobbing my head with dreamy abandon, I hear a voice. "Nice choice, DJ," it says.
I slowly slide the album cover down past my eyes and look up. My eyes spy his shoes first--paint-splattered brogues. My heart stops when I look at his face. Pale skin, messy black hair, emerald eyes...Senor Smolder! He's eighteen, maybe nineteen. And no, my imagination didn't lie, he is just as devastating now as he was the first time I saw him. Only even more, because he just complimented my taste in music.”
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