I can’t believe I read this 150-pages-long book in one day. I never do that. So Roller Girl is definitely a page turner! Tina and Joe are both two very likeable and relatable characters. They meet because Tina’s washing machine floods her kitchen and Joe is the plumber who comes to the rescue.
I’m not a huge fan of insta-anything, but insta-attraction – as in this case – I often can get behind. Right after their first meeting, Joe asks Tina out for a drink, not only to get to know her but also with the ulterior motive to recruit her as a player in the roller-derby team that she is leading.
For some reason, I have to confess, is still not really clear to me, Joe thinks it is not a good idea for them to date and be on the team together. So first, they try to resist each other and when that fails, they keep their relationship a secret because Joe does not want them to be out in the open about it. That’s the main reason for the conflict in the book and while I didn’t get the original premise, the execution was rather satisfying and, in itself, plausible.
Roller Girl appealed to me because it is the first lesbian romance I’ve read in a while with chemistry between the characters and panty-melting, amazingly hot sex. I’d actually started wondering if something was wrong with me, but no, luckily, these books do exist! I got a warm feeling reading about Tina and Joe together and their sex scenes are passionate and really hot. There is some dirty talk and sex toys and oh, la la! I feel that I have to stress this point because so many of the lesbian books I’ve read are really lacking in the romance department.
Apart from this there are many other aspects to the story that speak in its favour. For example, I love that this book is so body positive. Not only can we witness women obviously enjoying their bodies in the bedroom but there is also a very positive body image built through the derby sport; that every build and shape is beautiful and not somehow lesser or to be ashamed of. Another huge plus for me is the depiction of Tina, an adult trans-woman, who at this point in her life doesn’t struggle with her transness. This is important because we need more representation of trans people who made it through their transition, through depression and suicide attempts or through discrimination, so that trans teens and other trans people can see that life can get better, that they have a place in this world at all, and that they can find love just like everyone else. Additionally, there are several well-fleshed out secondary characters who give depth to the overall story and to the protagonists.
Personally, I’m not a huge sports fan, so the actual description of the game was a bit boring, but I enjoyed reading about the team and the friendships and companionship that arose from it; and I could see why Tina flourished so much in this group of new friends.
On the negative side, the whole book, with all it’s themes and problems, large and small, is a bit too smooth in its solutions. Everything is tidied up neatly and just too conveniently, but I’m not really complaining because sometimes fluff is all we need, right?
To sum up, I enjoyed reading Roller Girl and I recommend it for those looking for a romantic lesbian contemporary. You should also know that, while this is book #3 of the Lake Lovelace series, it works very well as a stand-alone. I haven’t read the other books and didn’t feel like I was missing anything.