I'm going to switch things around for this edition of Read This, Watch That and talk about the movie first. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, book before movie always. But in this case I'd seen the movie first and it was constantly running through my mind while reading the book so it only makes sense to talk about them in this order.
Watch That: Whip It!
Bliss Cavendar does not fit in in Bodeen, Texas. She is not a beauty queen, no matter how hard her mother tries to push her. She is quiet, almost meek, at her waitressing job at a local diner, and she only really has one friend- a girl who also understands exactly what it feels like to wish you were from someplace else. All of this changes when Bliss discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin, TX. Roller derby is fast, often violent, full of girl power and something that Bliss is surprisingly good at. It's not long before she's lying to her mother (who would so totally not understand) and blowing off her best friend in favor of spending more and more time with her new derby friends. When she gets caught (of course she does), Bliss has to decide what's important to her and if it's worth finally standing up for herself. This is an awesome coming of age story- first love, first heartbreak, fights with friends, standing up to parents- but it's also a GREAT sports movie. It's an action-y, underdog story with a pretty good soundtrack to boot.
Read This: Paradise by Jill S. Alexander
Whip It! the movie is based on a book, a pretty good one, by Shauna Cross. Go read that too. Paradise, however, is a total soul sister for Whip It! (both the movie and the book).
Like Bliss Cavendar, Paisley Tillery has a ridiculous name, a stage mom, a passive dad and a passion she has to keep secret. Paisley is a drummer, the only girl in her tiny Texas town's high school rock band. Her mom doesn't understand why she likes to drum, and she certainly wouldn't let her daughter spend all that time with the types of boys who are in rock bands, so Paisley is forced to lie to her mom about how she spends her after school hours. Paisley and her band are practicing for Texapalooza, a battle of the bands type competition in Austin, that will get them all one step closer to getting out of their town and doing what they love for real. The band actually stands a chance now that they've recruited a new lead singer and renegade accordion player from even tinier Paradise, Texas. Paradise is as good as he is cocky and even though his prima dona attitude soon threatens to drive the band apart, Paisley finds herself drawn to him (of course she is).
Whip It! and Paradise are tied together by so many themes and commonalities that it's almost like they're the same story being told two ways. If you're in the market for a spunky heroine yearning to get out of her nothing town for a shot at the big time in Austin, TX, do yourself a favor and Read This, Watch That.