Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Review: Whip It

Title: Whip It (Formerly [aka, before it was optioned as a movie] Derby Girl
Author: Shauna Cross
Genre: YA Commercial Fiction
Rating: A+

Summary: Bliss Cavendar couldn't be less blissful about her life in the pageant-crazed small town world of Bodeen, Texas. She has a dynamite best friend, Pash, who aids and abets Bliss' desire to escape the doldrums of their town and drives her north (not too far) to Austin where Bliss discovers the fabulousness that is roller derby. She also discovers the fabulousness of dating indie rock stars. But, as comes with roller derby, Bliss takes some hits.

First Line: "I don't know how it happened or what sort of back-room deal went down, but apparently I'm living in a small Texas town with two culturally clueless impostors for legal guardians, when I just know my real parents are out there somewhere."

Review: When I saw the trailer for Whip It, I knew that I wanted to see it. (I'm not a huge Ellen Page fan, but Kristen Wiig is pretty fantastic in my book.) But then I found out that it was based on a book and I had to put the brakes on. I'm strictly a read-it-before-you-see-it kind of gal when it comes to adaptations (if I know it's an adaptation).

So I picked up this little gem and sucked it down during a flight (~2 hours). It was that good. Seriously.

Bliss' life is far from, well, blissful, but she does her best. She remains plucky and hopeful. Too often in YA literature the narrators who aren't caught up in the trappings of beauty and popularity come across as completely "above it all" and have a voice that is too superior and esoteric, but not Bliss. She's hilarious (as is Pash) and, sure, she doesn't like her parents, but she's at least moderately respectful.

The scenes in the roller derby world were so perfectly described that you wanted to be there. Seriously. We have a roller derby league in Indianapolis that I've never seen, but now have pretty high up on my priority list. It's that good.

The love/romance angle of the book is awesome. It has everything you need and the ending is (to avoid spoilers) simply kick-butt. I cried with Bliss and cheered with her at the end.

I'm sad to say that this book was actually so good that now I can't stand to see the movie. Even though it looks like a really (really, really) faithful adaptation, I loved this book WAY TOO MUCH to sully it with the movie.

Recommendation: You'd probably like this book if you're a fan of John Green (smart, funny, thoughtful). On another recommendation angle, if you read this and like it, I recommend reading The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz. I haven't read this one yet, but (according to this write-up), it seems to have a similar tone/voice. It's on my TBR for sure.


Sabrina said...

I LOVE Kristin Wiig! I want to be her! I am her! I love doing impersonations of her, doing impersonations of others!!!

Linda said...

I *think* this on my tbr list. I know the movie is on my queue. I might have to bump up the book on that list.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Oh, glad you enjoyed it! I want to read this one too before I see the movie, now I'm even more looking forward to this.