How We Roll – Natasha Friend – Farrar Straus Giroux – Published 5 June 2018
Quinn is a teen who loves her family, skateboarding, basketball, and her friends, but after she’s diagnosed with a condition called alopecia which causes her to lose all of her hair, her friends abandon her. Jake was once a star football player, but a freak accident—caused by his brother—he loses both of his legs. Quinn and Jake meet and find the confidence to believe in themselves again, and maybe even love.
I devoured How We Roll in a matter of hours. I enjoyed this sweet story, with its gentle message of resilience, bravery, acceptance and friendship.
Quinn is ready for a new start, and her family moving to a new town for her brother, who has autism, to attend a new school, provides Quinn with the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button. Leaving behind the nasty rumours and ex-best-friends, Quinn uses the new school and new wigs to hide her alopecia. But old habits die hard and Quinn finds it hard not to be weary of her new friends. When Quinn meets Nick, an angry teen who lost both his legs in an accident, she connects with him, even if she doesn’t reveal her full story.
I enjoy books which celebrate diversity, especially when that diversity includes teens with a disability. Often inspiring but also very real, How We Roll is a down-to-earth story of two teens, both coming to terms with the changes in their bodies and the way that is impacting their lives.
Quinn is a likeable main protagonist and her story is very relatable, even to someone who does not have alopecia. She struggles to feel secure within new friendships, finds it hard to shake off the impact of bullying and sexual harassment. Her connection with Nick is at first tumultuous, but as their friendship slowly develops, so too does the possibility for more.
How We Roll combines family, romance, friendship and resilience. It is a well-written story that will appeal to readers who enjoy light but meaningful contemporary novels.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Friendship, disability, brothers, alopecia, autism, family, high school, romance.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references, references to sexual harassment and oral sex.
Published: 5 June 2018 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 272 pages.