Thursday, June 22, 2023

Time to Roll, by Jamie Sumner

Ellie is dealing with a lot of changes this summer.  Her Mom has  gotten remarried -- to her gym teacher -- and is traveling Route 66 with him for their honeymoon for the next month.  Her Dad, who's never been that close wit her, has come (with his new wife and their boys) to live with her for the month.  The result is chaos and Ellie would do just about anything to get out of the house.  Her best friend Coralee has an idea:  they should both compete in the Little Miss Boots and Bows together.  Coralee lives for beauty pageants, but Ellie wouldn't be caught dead in one.

One of the more obvious reasons Coralee doesn't like the idea is that she has cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair to get around.  She's not embarrassed by this fact, but often annoyed by the way her wheelchair causes people to treat her.  But Coralee is persistent and Ellie agrees to go along with it.  It's just about everything Ellie feared.  And when the organizer starts using Ellie to promote the "diversity" of the event, Coralee grows resentful of the attention Ellie is getting.  Ellie decides she has to take control and do this on her own terms.

There's undeniably excellent representation here for children with disabilities and the best part of this story was the character of Ellie.  She has the right amount of spunk and intelligence to be interesting.  But the  story felt rough and unfinished.  The development of Ellie's relationship with her estranged father had potential but never really takes off and the tensions with Coralee get a rushed resolution.

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