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Roll with It by Jamie Sumner
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Roll with It (edition 2020)

by Jamie Sumner (Author)

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1516142,819 (4.14)1
Twelve-year-old Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, finds her life transformed when she moves with her mother to small-town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's Disease.
Member:DDRoland
Title:Roll with It
Authors:Jamie Sumner (Author)
Info:Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2020), Edition: Reprint, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
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Roll with It by Jamie Sumner

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Recommended Ages: Gr. 4-7

Plot Summary: Ellie's grandma is having a harder and harder time taking care of Grandpa, so Ellie's mom decides they need to move in with them to help. This is hard, but it's also hard to navigate a trailer and old school building in a wheelchair, which is what Ellie has to do. Then why does she prefer to stay rather than going back to her old life?

Setting: Oklahoma

Characters:
Ellie - loves to bake, makes up he own recipes and tries ones she finds on the internet
Coralee - neighbor in the trailer park, Ellie's friend
Bert - Ellie's friend

Recurring Themes: cerebral palsy, friendship, family, dementia

Controversial Issues: none

Personal Thoughts: Very well written, engaging.

Genre: realistic fiction

Pacing: medium-fast
Characters: very well developed
Frame:
Storyline:

Activity:
  pigeonlover | Aug 15, 2021 |
Ellie has cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair. At school, an aide works with her and Ellie’s one friend is Emma Claire who also has CP. Ellie loves to bake. She watches The Great British Bake-Off and enjoys trying out new recipes. One day she would love to compete in the bake-off that her Mema has told her about. Ellie’s grandfather has Alzheimer’s disease and is worsening. Ellie’s mother decides they will stay with Mema and Grandpa in Oklahoma to help out for a few months. Eufaula, Oklahoma, isn’t as accessible for Ellie but there she finds good friends in Coralee and Bert. Ellie is a spitfire, no self-pity (most of the time), very self-motivated. Mouthy in an opinionated, off the cuff way. An informal voice, brisk pacing. Relatable characters. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Mar 7, 2020 |
I will just say straight out that I am not a fan of Wonder, although I know it's extremely beloved and we own a ridiculous number of copies. So it wasn't a draw for me that Palacio had blurbed this book - is every book with a disabled character going to have to have the mark of approval of an abled person? Ahem. However. This is a really, really good book!

The story opens with a typical day for Ellie. She's eating freezer food while watching a baking show and hoping her aide doesn't call her mom. The thing is, she just needed a break and zipped out during lunch at school. But kids in wheelchairs who have CP (Cerebral Palsy) are a "health risk" and are absolutely NOT supposed to skip. Luckily for Ellie, her mom has other things to think about. Ellie's gotten her long-awaited appointment with the dr. and has finally been seizure-free long enough to go off her medication. Meanwhile, Ellie's grandfather's dementia is getting worse and her grandmother is not able to cope with him. Ellie and her mom decide to extend their Christmas vacation and stay with their grandparents until things calm down a little.

Life in the trailer park is better and worse than Ellie expects. To her surprise, she makes friends - Coralee, whose mother has left her with an elderly relative and who dreams of getting out by winning talent contests. Bert, who lives along with his dad and is a bit (ok a lot) weird. Ellie figures he's probably on the spectrum. School is a whole 'nother can of worms. The kids (and staff) treat Ellie like some kind of weird freak one moment, then ignore her the next. Nothing is set up or accessible, and the only bright spot if the gym coach who has a background in physical therapy and rehabilitation.

As Ellie makes it through bad days - her grandfather's episodes - and good days - experimenting with baking - she comes to realize that, as Coralee says, this is her new family. Ellie is a refreshing and realistic character. She's aware of her limitations, hates having to have help to go to the bathroom because the trailer is too small and inaccessible, and gets snarky and tells people off when they get on her nerves. But she's also growing as a person, becoming aware of the issues faced by other people and of the challenges in and around her family. She sees her mom from a mature, almost adult viewpoint, understanding how much she's sacrificed to care for her and how difficult it is for her to handle her grandfather's decline, while still having moments as a kid. She secretly fears being put in an institution, like the nursing home her grandfather will eventually have to go to, and even when she understands why her mother is stressed she sometimes just can't let go of her own plans and problems. In other words, Ellie is a typical middle schooler; she's full of potential, has plenty of additional challenges to handle, and does her best to deal with what she's got.

In the end, there's no perfect ending; everyone still has problems they have to deal with and that affect their daily life. There's no moment when an all-school assembly realizes how Ellie has changed all their lives and inspired them all to be better people (yes, this me being extremely sarcastic). But Ellie has hope for the future, friends, and feels part of a community in a way she never has before. Sumner has a son with cerebral palsy and also consulted children with disabilities in writing this book. The main feedback was that they loved the character of Ellie, who "tells it like it is."

Verdict: An absolute must-have for every library. Aside from the rarity of a main protagonist with a disability, written realistically! this is a funny, touching, and strong middle grade novel that any kid who loves realistic fiction will devour. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781534442559; Published October 2019 by Atheneum; Review copy provided by publisher and donated to the library; 2nd copy purchased for the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | Dec 7, 2019 |
Determination, heart and clever spunk make Ellie a girl to follow and root for until the end.

Ellie's life is all right. There are some troubles, but all in all, she deals with things and takes challenges as they come. Until too many come. The one great change is that her seizures seem to be gone, and she can stop taking the medicine she's learned to hate. But with her father more interested in his new family than her, her grandpa's quickly worsening Alzheimer, her mother's idea to move to Oklahoma to help Ellie's grandparents, and being the new kid in school have overshadowed any happiness her health might have brought along. Somehow, Ellie's going to have to figure out how to deal with all of it.

Ellie has cerebral palsy and has to deal with the troubles it causes every day of her life. This does frustrate her at times, but it's not the only problem she has. While this book does demonstrate the everyday challenges Ellie faces thanks to her personal situation, it also presents issues young readers face themselves. Being raised by a single parent, watching grandparents face diseases like Alzheimer, and simply dealing with bullying due to economic or other differences are problems kids will recognize and sympathize with.

While Ellie does grow frustrated, she never gets depressed but rather works her way through things. This alone makes this type of character refreshing. Plus, she's got quite a bit of spunk, which makes her even more fun. The addition of a love for cooking/baking give her a well-rounded personality and offer an interesting hobby, which might draw the interest of some readers as well.

The pacing flows nicely, and there's always something happening which makes the book hard to put down. Ellie is fully aware of what each problem truly means, and this does make her seem a little mature for her age sometimes. I was a little surprised how long it took for her to actually get to the new school, but there are enough familiar problems to keep things rolling as it is. It is an interesting read with a fun character, and I'm sure kids ages 9 to 12 will enjoy it.

I received a complimentary copy and enjoyed reading it more than I thought I might. So, I'm leaving my honest thoughts. ( )
  tdrecker | Nov 30, 2019 |
Ellie has CP and is in a wheelchair, but she's plenty smart and capable. She loves baking, and her grandparents, so she's on board with her mom's plan to overstay their Christmas vacation by an entire semester to help her grandma out, because her grandpa has Alzheimer's. Ellie and her mom relocate from Tennessee to Oklahoma, where Ellie right away makes her first friend, the spangly, spandexed, hairsprayed Coralee. Coralee, Bert ("on the spectrum"), and Ellie ride to school together and become a group of three, and Coralee explains to Ellie that the reason other kids won't talk to her isn't because of the wheelchair - it's because they're from the wrong side of the tracks. Meanwhile, Ellie's grandpa gets worse, and when Ellie finds out that her mom is researching options to put him in a home, she worries that if she becomes too much work, her mom will do the same with her.

This story has just the right number of ups and downs, and it's great to see a main character in a wheelchair subverting stereotypes.

See also: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, Rules by Cynthia Lord, Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (YA), and The Silence Between Us (YA).

Quotes

The thing about fighting family is that you can't get away from them. You're stuck until it's fixed or broken for good. (68)

I wonder if Dad ever misses me. I wonder if he ever wonders what I can do now. I wish I could stop wondering. (79)

When you're doing something that takes all your brain power, the world kind of falls away and leaves you alone. You can be anyone anywhere when you're mind is so full of a story that the real world can't get in. (113)

Everybody says what they want you to hear until they change their minds....I guess family is only family as long as it's convenient. (158)

Food is the universal hello. (207)

"Sometimes, the best plan is the one you don't make for yourself." (Grandpa to Ellie, 242) ( )
  JennyArch | Oct 9, 2019 |
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Twelve-year-old Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, finds her life transformed when she moves with her mother to small-town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's Disease.

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