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Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes
Roll with It by Jamie Sumner
Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru
Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright
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Roll with It: 07/03/20

Roll with It

Roll with It by Jamie Sumner is a middle grade novel about a mother and daughter moving to Eufaula, OK to help care for a grandfather with Alzheimers. Ellie, the daughter, is wheelchair bound because of cerebral palsy. Her passion is baking and she's hoping the move will be a chance at greater freedom.

The first third of the book is used a set up to show what life is like for Ellie. We're shown a day in her life at school and at home and how she has an aid at school and doesn't want one. We see how she has been on anti-seizure medicine for most of her childhood but has now apparently outgrown the need for them. We get to read her letters to different celebrity chefs with baking questions.

Had Ellie and her mother not moved, Roll with It would have been a very different book. I think it would have settled into a novel about how difficult CP makes life and the annoyances of being in a wheelchair. The move, though, shakes things up and gives both Ellie and her mother a chance to live and adapt, so that we can see them as people, rather than just character sheets.

The move also puts the novel onto the road narrative spectrum. Mother and daughter are a family of travelers (33). Their destination is rural Oklahoma (33). Their route is the Blue Highway, the roads actually called out in the novel (33).

All together, then, Roll with It is about a family traveling to a rural town via the Blue Highway (333333).

Four stars

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