Derby Girl and the Inactives List

RollerDerbyIn my last post I linked the movie trailer for the upcoming flick Whip It and confessed my new love of roller derby.  First I should probably give you a bit of background on my roller derby love.  Up until about a month ago I had only a vague idea of what exactly roller derby was.  A coworker is on the local derby team, the Cincinnati Rollergirls, and asked for people to come to the last home bout of the season which was also going to be her last home bout ever since she is retiring at the end of the season.  I went with a couple of other coworkers and spent the first bout completely confused as to what was going on.  If you have absolutely no knowledge of roller derby and you go to a bout all it looks like is a bunch of girls skating in a circle for about two minutes with people randomly cheering.  I’m sure I had a perpetual question mark on my face for about an hour, not that anyone could see because it gets pretty dark in there.  After that first bout, though, things started to make sense.  I began to be able to distinguish the different players positions and their jobs, got a vague handle on how points were scored, and even could determine a little bit of strategy.  After that, I was hooked.  This sport was made for me to watch.  Normally I go to sporting events and my mind wanders.  I end up people watching more than watching the game and I usually miss all of the major action.  A huge cheer will go up and I’ll turn to my husband and ask what happened.  He gets tired of explaining it to me and tells me I need to pay attention. :)  In roller derby, at least the bouts I saw, there are two 30 minute halves but within each half are 2 minute bouts.  A set of girls line up and have up to 2 minutes to fight each other for points.  If you blink, you will miss something, so I don’t blink and I don’t have time for my mind to wander because just as soon as something shiny catches my eye in the audience a new bout begins, a new fight, a new chance for the my team to come out ahead and score, and I’m hooked again.  So, as you can tell, I am now a roller derby evangelist even though I have only attended one event and have only seen two bouts.  Now I will stop talking about my love of derby, but if you’re interested in learning more about it, Wikipedia actually has an excellent and (surprisingly) well referenced article on roller deby.  One last thing, if you live anywhere close to a biggish city, I bet you may have a roller derby team near you.  If you do, I highly recommend you check it out at least once.

Derby GirlOn to the whole reason for this post, Shauna Cross’ book Derby Girl.  Friday I was working on our most current inactives list for teen fiction.  For nonlibrarians, inactives lists give you titles of items that have not been checked out for a specific amount of time, in my case, one year.  Guess what showed up on my inactives list?  That’s right, Derby Girl.  I honestly can’t say I was too surprised.  I had seen it languishing on the shelf but the cover is bright and eye-catching so I left it there just in case but now here’s the proof that maybe it should be weeded; it hadn’t circulated April 2008.  I was ready to weed it but with my new found love of roller derby I had to at least read the description first and, color me surprised when, what do you know, Derby Girl is Whip It!  This book that has already been weeded at a majority of branches across our library system is the source of the movie that has recently inspired a new bout of fangirldom in me.  Doret let me know that the book is being released in paperback by Macmillan this fall.  Macmillan’s description taught me that Derby Girl was a YALSA BBYA and Quick Pick as well as a NYPL Book for the Teen Age.  Why is this book on my inactives list?  Why was it on inactives lists across the 40 some branches of my library system?

Now that I’ve gotten this far, I should probably tell you what the book (and movie) is about, if you don’t know already, so you can help me ponder these questions.  Derby Girl stars Bliss Cavendar, an indie-rock chick who is stuck in small town Texas, obviously not a good match.  Trying to find her place in the world, she learns about and falls in love with roller derby and joins a team.  Bliss has the very typical teen problems with her too-traditional parents, friendships, boys, and identity.  To me, this sounds like it would be a decently popular book.  Again, my question: why is this on my inactives list?  It’s not that old!  Is it the cover, which isn’t my favorite but isn’t horrible?  Is it because people (i.e. teens) don’t know about roller derby?  Is it because they see skates and think “lame,” though I know some teens who are still avid skaters?  Or is it just one of those things?

Bottom line, I checked my branch’s copy out because I wanted to read it and save it from being sold at a Friend’s sale just yet.  I’m going to suggest that other teen librarians in our system to keep their copies at least until after the movie comes out because there might be a popularity surge depending on how well-received the movie is.  I will continue to ponder the “why isn’t this book being checked out but that piece of crap book over there goes out all time time” question.  And I will  remain a roller derby fangirl.


About Casey

I am a librarian who loves all things reading, especially teen literature.
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5 Responses to Derby Girl and the Inactives List

  1. Doret says:

    Thanks for this post. Didn’t realize Derby Girl was Whip it or that it was the QP that was coming out. Just added the HC to my library queue. (Which just keeps growing, people need to turn in their books quicker) Macmillian should make sure booksellers and librarians know Derby Girl is Whip it.

    • Casey says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, it was a surprise to me, though I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised since many teen books seem to be making their way onto the big screen lately. I do hope Macmillan will help people make the connection between the movie and the book.

  2. Trisha says:

    This book sits on my shelf, too, and I don’t know why. :(

    I read it when it first came out and really enjoyed it (well, except for the Denver pro football team referred to as the Colts, I think it was, not the Broncos. Man, the things you remember when there are so many more important things you’ve forgotten), and have been holding off on weeding it for a while now, knowing that the movie was coming out. I am also hoping that the movie will lead to an increase in circ *crossing fingers*

    • Casey says:

      I haven’t finished it yet but I have made it to the Denver Colts part and winced. It isn’t a very important part of the story but it is such a glaring, memorable error.

      I do hope the movie sparks a Derby Girl revival.

  3. Jack says:

    It’s a pretty cool sport. And for some interesting perspective, I invite you to check out this short video — — which tells the story of one young woman’s “aha moment” when she discovered her true passion in roller derby. I think you’ll enjoy it.


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