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Kenzie Kickstarts a Team

(The Derby Daredevils #1)

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A highly illustrated middle-grade series that celebrates new friendships, first crushes, and getting out of your comfort zone

Ever since they can remember, fifth-graders Kenzie (aka Kenzilla) and Shelly (aka Bomb Shell) have dreamed of becoming roller derby superstars. When Austins city league introduces a brand-new junior league, the dynamic duo celebrates! But theyll need
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published March 24th 2020 by Amulet Books
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Average rating 4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  61 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
All the shiny gold stars for an MG debut I LOVED because it hits the middle grade sweet spot in so many ways. Im seriously excited about this book and getting it into the hands of young readers in March 2020.

This book is PERFECT for the younger middle grade crowd, and I was thrilled to hear that its the first book in a series. Its highly illustrated (by the talented #sophieescabasse), its a reasonable length, and its mature enough that readers wont feel like its a little kid book. Kenzie has a
Danika at The Lesbrary
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Middle grade roller derby series! The main character has a crush on another girl! Also, her dad is trans. This is adorable, and I can't wait for the next in the series to come out.

Full review at the Lesbrary.
The Nerd Daily
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler

What do you get if you pick up a copy?

- Girls supporting girls and standing up for themselves!
- Stereotypes like girls cant play basketball or girls are too weak to play derby are kicked in the butt in this book!
- The most diverse and awesome group of friends you could ask for
- There is a quiz on Kits website where you can find out which of the Daredevils you are most like!


If I had to summarise this book in one word, it would
Aiden Thomas
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
FRIENDS! i just finished this WONDERFUL MG debut by Kit Rosewater and i ADORE IT!

- a diverse cast of characters!
- f/f first crush!
- girls kicking ass!
- casual queerness (FEAT. A TRANS DAD!)

seriously this book is SO SWEET and SO MUCH FUN!

the Casual Queerness was definitely my favorite part, but this is also a great book about empowering girls, and learning how to share your best friend (WHICH IS SO HARD). this is a fantastic book for MG and HIGHLY recommend it for sporty
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this fun middle-grade read from debut author Kit Rosewater. This book features tough, caring girls and a diverse cast and is a perfect read for adventure-loving kids. These roller derby girls are some of the coolest (and yet super relatable) kids I've seen in kidlit.
Rosewaters fun, sporty, and eminently relatable debut kicks off the wonderfully illustrated Derby Daredevils series with a bang, or should I say a Bomb Shell? Thats the derby name for Shelly, who together with Kenzie (thats Kenzilla to you) dreams of becoming a roller derby superstar. But the only way the girls can guarantee getting to run together is if they try out as a team, and two girls does not a team make; getting another three on board is going to be key if theyre ever gonna have a shot. ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading an ARC of this utterly charming book and I can't recommend it more. Kit Rosewater's middle-grade voice is spot on, and will appeal to all sorts of readers, but most especially to reluctant readers, who will be encouraged by Sophie Escabasse's fun illustrations. Derby Daredevils is first and foremost, about friendship and teamwork. I loved seeing Kenzie struggle with her jealousy of her best friend Shelly's burgeoning friendship with brand new pal and team member Tomoko, ...more
Laura Gardner
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loooooooved this 2020 MG from @kitrosewater and @abramskids ; pre-order it for sure! 5⭐ ; comes out 3-24-20

With frequent B&W illustrations and coming in at exactly 150 pages I know this will be a hit with my reluctant readers. Its also super fun (roller derby!!) and addresses friendship issues in a realistic way. LGBT characters are present, but not in an overt way. So so much to like here. Grades 2-6. 😊

#middleschoollibrary #library #librarian #futurereadylibs #iteachlibrary
nova ryder ☼
May 27, 2019 marked it as not-yet-published
Im all for more queer rep in middle grade books 👏👏👏 and this sounds adorable ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Kenzie and her best friend Shelley love roller derby, a sport in which they are interested because Kenzie's mother is involved. They both hope to join a team when they are in high school, so are super excited to see that there are try outs for ages 10-14 teams at the warehouse in Austin, Texas where they have been skating. The only problem is that they really want to try out together, and find that the only way they can do this is to put together a team of five. They
Kristin Lambert
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored this first installment in the Derby Daredevils series! I intended to wait and read it with my 9-year-old, but once I got started, I couldnt stop reading! I had to find out what happened with Kenzie, her best friend, and the junior roller derby team they were trying to put together! I adored the casual inclusivity of this story and its illustrations. The hints that Kenzie may be developing a crush, and her uncertainty about those feelings, rang so true to me and seemed just right for the ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kenzie eats, sleeps, and breathes roller derby. Practicing feverishly alongside her best friend Shelly, the Dynamic Duo is on track for greatness when they become old enough to eventually join a team. In Kit Rosewaters middle grade debut, THE DERBY DAREDEVILS: KENZIE KICKSTARTS A TEAM, their special bond is challenged when the duo must become a quintet in order to try out for the new junior derby league together. The first of the series, THE DERBY DAREDEVILS is an incredibly engaging and ...more
Ash Otterloo
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review from an ARC I was lucky enough to snag!!!

McKenzie Kenzilla Ellington is an ambitious girl whos struggling with a problem common to daydreamers: the cheering-crowd, BFF-centric tableaus in her head need some serious updating as she grows into her next phase of life.

Her lifelong dreamskating in the roller derby rink like her momis suddenly within reach when a new junior league is created her home city, Austin. But this new adventure means stretching some outgrown ideals, like competing as
NOTE: I received an ARC via the publisher and Book Portage, a book sharing group in exchange for my honest review.

Kenzie Kickstarts a Team is a charming middle grade novel. Kenzie and her BFF Shelly have been looking forward to joining the roller derby league for years, but as the time draws near, they find out to be able to play together, they need to pull together a team. As they connect with others, Kenzie becomes worried her friendship with Shelly is changing. The girls struggle to assemble
Stacy Alfano
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book as an ARC and think it will appeal to a wide variety of readers!
The characters were diverse and were unique in their own ways. There are so many middle grade issues that are addressed in this first novel of a series. Kenzie and Shelly have been a dynamic duo forever and when they want to try out for junior derby they must create a team of five in a week! This is where friendship issues, jealousy issues and personal issues arise. The characters are believable and the author
Shannon Doleski
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this middle grade!!! Kids are going to love the fast-paced relatable content and illustrations. Great for reluctant readers!
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First things first: This book is excellent. All the characters are unique and striking on their own, which makes their journey to become a derby team all the more enjoyable. What's more, even with five central characters, every one of them has some sort of character growth or obstacle to overcome, which is especially impressive for a debut novel. What's more, the book is infectiously passionate for its main plot, the roller derby team. As someone who has only ever casually observed derby, I was ...more
I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Roller derby is tough. And, apparently, so is friendship.

Kenzie--AKA Kenzilla--wants nothing more than to be on a roller derby team like her mom. She and her best friend, Shelly--AKA Bombshell--practice whenever they can, waiting for the day they are old enough to join in the teen league. So they are ecstatic to learn that there is a new league, just for girls their age! There's just one problem: try-outs could mean
Shan Salter
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

THE DERBY DAREDEVILS: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team
By Kit Rosewater (Illustrations by Sophie Escabasse)

On Sale Date: March 2020

This new chapter book/early middle-grade series set in Austin, Texas, features the sport of Roller Derby and a diverse cast of characters. The reader follows Kenzie on her mission to put together a roller-derby team as mighty as the one her Mom plays on. With the help of her best
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A middle ages book that's full of heart and dealing with difficult feelings around friendship and liking-liking someone for the first time.

As a roller derby player, I was really looking forward to reading this book. And there is a lot of roller derby in it! And while the sport is the motivating factor, the heart and soul is the relationship between Kenzie and Shelly, who have been best friends forever. The emotions Kenzie feels as their relationship changes (not better, not worse, just
Kate Waggoner
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read

Thank you to @abramskids and the author, Kit Rosewater, for sharing an advance copy of Kenzie Kickstarts a Team (The Derby Daredevils #1) with the #kidlitexchange network. Rosewater's debut middle grades novel will be released in March 2020. All opinions are my own.

Kenzie and Shelly are the dynamic duo. They have been watching Kenzie's mom participate in roller derby for the last few years and dreaming of the day when they'd get their chance to join the league. That chance comes
Carmen Shannon
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Roller-derby and friendship mash-up to create a very relatable middle grade novel. Kenzie loves watching her mom play roller-derby and longs for the day when she can officially play. She's overjoyed to learn about a new junior league forming in her town of Austin, TX. She works with her best friend Shelly to try to recruit three more players in order to create a team.

The recruiting process puts strain on her relationship with Shelly, and forces Kenzie to begin to explore a same-sex crush. LGBTQ
Nicole Lesperance
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a sweet, fun read about friendship and family and teamwork! I also liked how much I learned about roller derby. The illustrations were adorable and captured the spirit of the book and the characters perfectly. Kenzie is a great protagonist with a huge heart and huge ambition. I loved how she and her best friend Shelly worked through their differences, tested their relationship in a totally age-appropriate way, and worked together to find members for their roller derby team. This is ...more
Kimberly Gutierrez
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book begins with a bang - right out of the gate, Kenzie is a strong character that truly shows who she is and how she is navigating through being a young teenager. The author does a great job letting us see inside this character and the struggle that teens have as they manage friendships, changes, and growth into a new area in their life. I enjoyed the writing style of the author and felt like the book clipped along at a good rate with little excess writing that might have gotten in the ...more
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-ebook, mg-reads
What a great middle grade novel! This book is the ultimate for reluctant readers. The writing is engaging, the illustrations keep the story moving, and the subject matter is universally appealing.

This book addresses some real situations that middle grade readers face including friendship, adversity, and having crushes. The length of the book is just read at around 150 pages.

The publisher generously provided me with a copy of the book upon request on NetGalley. The rating, ideas and opinions
Brian Kennedy
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg
A fun, action-packed start to a planned series, Kenzie Kickstarts a Team will hook you in from the very first chapter and have you rooting for its charming, diverse cast of aspiring roller derby players. Each character felt unique yet relatable in their own way, and my opinion of who was my favorite kept changing. The illustrations leapt (skated? zoomed?) off the page. I'm eagerly awaiting the next book (which changes the focus to a different character) to see what challenges these fierce, ...more
Diana Johnson
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dynamic and fun with a wonderful friendship theme and cast of diverse characters. Kids will love learning about the roller derby. The author dies a great job presenting the sport in an accessible way young readers.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Perfect for young MG readers, DERBY DAREDEVILS is a lighthearted and fun story of friendship, the complexities of group dynamics, and coming into oneself. With a loveable and diverse cast of characters, the book left me wanting the sequel ASAP!
Meredith Ann
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, arc, alamw20
This one's a lot of fun. A charming first book in a what will be a popular new series for younger middle grade readers, full of diversity and representation.
Shireen Hakim
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
DNF. This is a perfect read for middle graders, but I couldn't get into it. I did appreciate the illustrations.
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