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When Lauren (but call him “Ren,” pretty please) Hall sees birds falling from the sky, he knows something is wrong. But just as he’s starting to worry, he realizes that the birds are plummeting toward the ground on purpose. Turns out they’re Birmingham Roller Pigeons, and his new neighbor Sutton is training them for a competition. Sure, it’s strange, but Ren’s best and only f When Lauren (but call him “Ren,” pretty please) Hall sees birds falling from the sky, he knows something is wrong. But just as he’s starting to worry, he realizes that the birds are plummeting toward the ground on purpose. Turns out they’re Birmingham Roller Pigeons, and his new neighbor Sutton is training them for a competition. Sure, it’s strange, but Ren’s best and only friend Aiden has picked this summer to start hanging with the popular kids. So Ren starts training pigeons with Sutton—what’s the worst that could happen? A bird falls on his head?


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When Lauren (but call him “Ren,” pretty please) Hall sees birds falling from the sky, he knows something is wrong. But just as he’s starting to worry, he realizes that the birds are plummeting toward the ground on purpose. Turns out they’re Birmingham Roller Pigeons, and his new neighbor Sutton is training them for a competition. Sure, it’s strange, but Ren’s best and only f When Lauren (but call him “Ren,” pretty please) Hall sees birds falling from the sky, he knows something is wrong. But just as he’s starting to worry, he realizes that the birds are plummeting toward the ground on purpose. Turns out they’re Birmingham Roller Pigeons, and his new neighbor Sutton is training them for a competition. Sure, it’s strange, but Ren’s best and only friend Aiden has picked this summer to start hanging with the popular kids. So Ren starts training pigeons with Sutton—what’s the worst that could happen? A bird falls on his head?

30 review for Roll

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ben Miller

    I may be a tad biased, but this book is amazing! It also contains my personal philosophy on onion rings.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Locke

    An utterly delightful novel about a boy's coming of age, friendships in flux, and embracing who he is. Highly rec. An utterly delightful novel about a boy's coming of age, friendships in flux, and embracing who he is. Highly rec.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I ADORED this book. Southern Minnesota, comic books, the uncertainty of friendship, growing up, and pigeons. Reading the descriptions of Ren stepping into the pigeon coop was like stepping into my childhood - growing up, my next-door neighbor raised pigeons and I loved spending warm summer afternoons in the musty shed. Miller does an excellent job of exploring how friendships change and evolve as kids get older. ROLL is funny, honest, and touching.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Searcy

    Roller Pigeons. I didn't even know that was a thing, but now, like Ren, I am a little obsessed! This is a fun, humorous, absolutely fascinating book about friendship, growing up, and being true to yourself. (Ren's voice and fun facts are extra entertaining.) Truly a book for the whole family--but be warned, you will spend a lot of time on You Tube watching pigeons roll! Roller Pigeons. I didn't even know that was a thing, but now, like Ren, I am a little obsessed! This is a fun, humorous, absolutely fascinating book about friendship, growing up, and being true to yourself. (Ren's voice and fun facts are extra entertaining.) Truly a book for the whole family--but be warned, you will spend a lot of time on You Tube watching pigeons roll!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hazel (Stay Bookish)

    This was such a beautifully down-to-earth MG novel! I loved the characters and loved how important family and friendship is in the story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Roll is a charming and funny middle grade book. It's perfect for anyone who has felt like an outsider trying to find a place to fit in. Kids will relate to the challenges of navigating tween social groups and adults will love Ren's dorky humor sprinkled throughout. This is a great book for adults and tweens to read together. Ren is a whip-smart comic-book reader who has just moved away from his best friend, Aiden. Feeling pressured to try running by his Dad, he stumbles across Sutton, his nearest Roll is a charming and funny middle grade book. It's perfect for anyone who has felt like an outsider trying to find a place to fit in. Kids will relate to the challenges of navigating tween social groups and adults will love Ren's dorky humor sprinkled throughout. This is a great book for adults and tweens to read together. Ren is a whip-smart comic-book reader who has just moved away from his best friend, Aiden. Feeling pressured to try running by his Dad, he stumbles across Sutton, his nearest neighbor, and her pigeons. Ren spends the rest of the summer entranced by the pigeons and a growing friendship with Sutton while trying to hang onto his friendship with Aiden and making his dad believe he's running every day. Sutton has a thing for honesty and Ren needs to figure out how true friends should act. Highly recommended!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Ott

    This book is so charming! It's equal parts hilarious and heartfelt. Ren's voice is so perfect, and Sutton completely won my heart. A delightful read that I highly recommend! This book is so charming! It's equal parts hilarious and heartfelt. Ren's voice is so perfect, and Sutton completely won my heart. A delightful read that I highly recommend!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This is a nice, coming-of-age story - well-written yet I'm afraid it might not stick with me, except for how Birmingham Roller pigeons are featured. I liked how Ren made some efforts to change and improve himself, yet also realized the ways in which he wanted to stay true to himself too. I'm looking forward to seeing this author speak at the Wisconsin Library Association conference next week. This is a nice, coming-of-age story - well-written yet I'm afraid it might not stick with me, except for how Birmingham Roller pigeons are featured. I liked how Ren made some efforts to change and improve himself, yet also realized the ways in which he wanted to stay true to himself too. I'm looking forward to seeing this author speak at the Wisconsin Library Association conference next week.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    This is such a precious and realistic book. Miller nails trying, and stumbling along, to find your place in your family and your social circles. Well done!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens

    A boy named Lauren is trying so hard to like running. Instead, he keeps getting distracted by Birmingham Rollers -- daredevil stunt pigeons. Can you blame him?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Schwabauer

    I loved the voice in this novel. I want to read a dozen more books by this author. The only reason this stayed a three-star book is because the novel never really hit any high points—just solid all the way through.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Spectacular book - on the quiet side as Ren finds himself alone for the summer after moving away from town. That means running and hanging out with himself until he meets Sutton who trains pigeons. I absolutely loved this book and learned so much. Plus, Ren is a great character full of flaws as he struggles to find himself. His interesting scientific notes are awesome. Highly recommend - a great 0ld-fashioned book about summer, growing up and pigeons!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Fenn

    Darcy Miller's debut MG novel "Roll" is a refreshing take on some universal trials of early adolescence: identity, fitting in and friendships. Ren, Miller's funny and very likable protagonist, meets Sutton, his new neighbor, one morning while he's supposed to be out training for the cross country team. Sutton has a unique interest: pigeon rolling. Ren and Sutton strike up a friendship and Ren begins helping her train her birds. What will his best friend Aiden, who's suddenly started hanging with Darcy Miller's debut MG novel "Roll" is a refreshing take on some universal trials of early adolescence: identity, fitting in and friendships. Ren, Miller's funny and very likable protagonist, meets Sutton, his new neighbor, one morning while he's supposed to be out training for the cross country team. Sutton has a unique interest: pigeon rolling. Ren and Sutton strike up a friendship and Ren begins helping her train her birds. What will his best friend Aiden, who's suddenly started hanging with the "cool kids" think? I've seen this book compared to the work of Jerry Spinelli (who is one of my all-time favorite young adult and middle grade authors), and that comparison is apt; at times "Roll" reminded me of "Star Girl." "Roll" is a quick read, with tight pacing that will keep MG readers interested, and Miller provides Ren with a great voice; he's equal parts smart, funny and sweetly naive. Sutton is also an interesting and enjoyable character. I was intrigued by the inclusion of pigeon rolling, and the book provided enough information about the hobby that I was able to catch on quickly, without bogging down the story in too much detail. This quirky, 'clean' book has a lot of heart! Recommended for MG readers!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Hosch

    ROLL is a fantastic read: great dialogue, true middle grade voice, quirky and interesting details about pigeons and life. Ren (full name Lauren, but please don't call him that) Hall has just moved into a new house in the country. It's actually an old house--his grandparents--and it's still full of their things. However, it's only 8 miles from his old home so he'll still go to the same school and still see his best friend all the time. It's not like his best friend has grown three inches and is s ROLL is a fantastic read: great dialogue, true middle grade voice, quirky and interesting details about pigeons and life. Ren (full name Lauren, but please don't call him that) Hall has just moved into a new house in the country. It's actually an old house--his grandparents--and it's still full of their things. However, it's only 8 miles from his old home so he'll still go to the same school and still see his best friend all the time. It's not like his best friend has grown three inches and is suddenly hanging out with the cools kids at the pool or anything. Right? Maybe. When out for a run one morning, Ren sees birds falling from the sky. He has stumbled upon the sport of pigeon rolling and Sutton, a girl with flaming red-orange-yellow dyed hair and a knack for telling the truth. Sutton has moved from far away (Washington DC) and her father is in the hospital after a terrible car accident. Little by little, Ren learns that it's okay to accept changes as he and his friends grow up. Highly recommended. ROLL will fly into your heart.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

    I loved this book and I've got a handful of friends with younger kids who are going to be getting a copy sometime in the near future. Not only is it wonderfully unique with it's focus on truly small town Minnesota and pigeon rolling, but it deals with change is such an honest and moving way. I wish I'd had - or found - a book like this when I was a kid. Honestly, there was a time in my 20s when I really could have used some insight. I didn't just hate change, I was completely unprepared for it. I loved this book and I've got a handful of friends with younger kids who are going to be getting a copy sometime in the near future. Not only is it wonderfully unique with it's focus on truly small town Minnesota and pigeon rolling, but it deals with change is such an honest and moving way. I wish I'd had - or found - a book like this when I was a kid. Honestly, there was a time in my 20s when I really could have used some insight. I didn't just hate change, I was completely unprepared for it. When friendships morphed into something new or ended, I floundered and was completely devastated. I completely sympathized with Ren when he noticed the way his friendship with Aiden - and Aiden himself - was changing and didn't know how to deal. It's a testament to Miller's writing and insight that the friendship came to a head in a way that was both realistic and satisfying for this reader. Roll is wonderfully engaging, full of delightful characters and plot. I can't wait to see what Miller will come up with next.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Soralix

    "Roll" is a fantastic story about learning who you are and how to stay true to yourself. The characters and their interactions with each other are all realistic, and they each play into the story in some way. In summary, Ren is a relatable dorky boy who has recently moved out of town to his Grandma's old house. He's taken on cross country, even though running kills him every time (I told you he's relatable), but later finds a passion in training pigeons for a competition with his neighbor Sutton. "Roll" is a fantastic story about learning who you are and how to stay true to yourself. The characters and their interactions with each other are all realistic, and they each play into the story in some way. In summary, Ren is a relatable dorky boy who has recently moved out of town to his Grandma's old house. He's taken on cross country, even though running kills him every time (I told you he's relatable), but later finds a passion in training pigeons for a competition with his neighbor Sutton. However, with a growing rift between him and his best friend as well as the pressure of measuring up to his dad, the weeks before the start of school are going to be a long ride... The chemistry (platonic or romantic) between Ren and Sutton, comedic relief of Ren's mom, and the little roles of background characters are done beautifully. Picking up this book won't be a mistake!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    When Ren Hall’s BFF, Aiden, starts hanging out with the popular kids over the summer, Ren is left at loose ends—until he meets Sutton Davies, the new girl in town. Sutton, with her flaming red hair and penchant for Violent Femmes T-shirts, is not your average 11-year-old, Ren soon discovers. She is a Birmingham Roller Pigeon fancier, and now that her dad is laid up in the hospital, she needs a new training partner for the upcoming National Birmingham Roller Club competition. But is Ren, a comic- When Ren Hall’s BFF, Aiden, starts hanging out with the popular kids over the summer, Ren is left at loose ends—until he meets Sutton Davies, the new girl in town. Sutton, with her flaming red hair and penchant for Violent Femmes T-shirts, is not your average 11-year-old, Ren soon discovers. She is a Birmingham Roller Pigeon fancier, and now that her dad is laid up in the hospital, she needs a new training partner for the upcoming National Birmingham Roller Club competition. But is Ren, a comic-book loving Renaissance Faire enthusiast, really the boy to do it? Five stars to this warm, funny, and incredibly uplifting book. Highly and enthusiastically recommended!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    The one thing I loved even more than learning about Birmingham Roller Pigeons (and I loved that A LOT) was Ren's voice. Lauren Hall, aka Ren, has the most perfect, most quirky, snarky-funny middle-grade voice ever. He's self-aware, and funny enough to melt through tension and let us see beyond the stress of certain excruciating middle-schoolish situations. How welcome this approach, and this perspective, will be to certain young readers! This book has a lot of heart, a quiet, funny sense of humo The one thing I loved even more than learning about Birmingham Roller Pigeons (and I loved that A LOT) was Ren's voice. Lauren Hall, aka Ren, has the most perfect, most quirky, snarky-funny middle-grade voice ever. He's self-aware, and funny enough to melt through tension and let us see beyond the stress of certain excruciating middle-schoolish situations. How welcome this approach, and this perspective, will be to certain young readers! This book has a lot of heart, a quiet, funny sense of humor, and a lot of interesting birdy info on an obscure sport I'd never heard of. What more can one ask? Remember debut author Darcy Miller's name -- she is a writer on a ROLL!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Donnelly

    Ren thinks he wants to follow in his father's footsteps, quite literally, by going out for the cross-country team, but he doesn't really enjoy running. It's certainly not as interesting as what his new neighbor, Sutton, does every morning as he jogs by: Sutton is training her Birmingham Roller Pigeons to compete in a championship fly. As Ren's new friendship with Sutton is beginning, his lifelong friendship with Aiden hits a rocky patch. Darcy Miller's charming debut offers a thoughtful, funny t Ren thinks he wants to follow in his father's footsteps, quite literally, by going out for the cross-country team, but he doesn't really enjoy running. It's certainly not as interesting as what his new neighbor, Sutton, does every morning as he jogs by: Sutton is training her Birmingham Roller Pigeons to compete in a championship fly. As Ren's new friendship with Sutton is beginning, his lifelong friendship with Aiden hits a rocky patch. Darcy Miller's charming debut offers a thoughtful, funny take on the evolving nature of preteen friendship and the art of staying true to yourself. Give this one to fans of Jenni Holm or Barbara O'Connor's contemporary MG stories.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joanne O'Sullivan

    Oh, my! I just loved these characters so much I wanted to scoop them up and bring them home to live with me. In this pitch-perfect middle grade novel set over the course of the summer between fifth and sixth grade, good-natured, comic book-loving Ren meets a new friend- a girl named Sutton whose hobby is pigeon rolling- and starts to break away from an old one- Aiden, who's been his best friend since kindergarden. Miller perfectly captures the growing pains of that period when a kid is branching Oh, my! I just loved these characters so much I wanted to scoop them up and bring them home to live with me. In this pitch-perfect middle grade novel set over the course of the summer between fifth and sixth grade, good-natured, comic book-loving Ren meets a new friend- a girl named Sutton whose hobby is pigeon rolling- and starts to break away from an old one- Aiden, who's been his best friend since kindergarden. Miller perfectly captures the growing pains of that period when a kid is branching out, fearful of letting go of the past, a little apprehensive about the future, but full of heart. I adored this book and can't wait to share it with my 10-year-old son.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Garrett

    Lauren, or Ren as he prefers to be called is going through some life changes: his family has moved out to the country away from his best friend in Aiden in town, he's trying to become a competitive runner to please his dad, and he meets Sutton the new girl who lives next door. Ren is having trouble sorting things out: Is is best friend making cool new friends and leaving him behind? Should he keep running to please his dad even though he is not enjoying it at all? Can Sutton become his friend? O Lauren, or Ren as he prefers to be called is going through some life changes: his family has moved out to the country away from his best friend in Aiden in town, he's trying to become a competitive runner to please his dad, and he meets Sutton the new girl who lives next door. Ren is having trouble sorting things out: Is is best friend making cool new friends and leaving him behind? Should he keep running to please his dad even though he is not enjoying it at all? Can Sutton become his friend? One morning while out running Ren sees a strange sight birds seeming to fall from the sky! He doesn't believe his eyes and tries to get a closer look. He comes across his new neighbor, red headed Sutton, who is somehow connected to these strange birds. She explains that the birds are a special type of pigeon: Birmingham Rollers who actually somersault out of the sky. Ren, who is academically talented, decides to research the pigeons to learn how to help Sutton with a special pigeon competition. Sutton is having a challenging summer herself - she's new in the neighborhood, her dad is hospitalized after being in an accident, and her mom is busy caring for him. She welcomes Ren's help since her dad cannot help at this time. With all their personal issues Ren and Sutton have a lot in common and more than a few differences. Can they overcome everything and become friends and win the pigeon championship? I enjoyed a story of middle school friendship from a boy's point of veiw for a change. Side note: When I began reading I thought the pigeons were totally fictional but learned they actually exist and so do the competitions. There are even pigeons who just roll around on the ground!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia Tuckness

    Fantasy is all the rage these days, so it's nice when a truly realistic book like this one comes along--a book that really could happen, about normal kids! Ren (boy) and Sutton (girl) have each recently moved to the country, next door to each other, and are trying to get through the summer. As is typical for middle school books (and students!), Ren realizes that his (former) best friend Aiden is now hanging out with a (cooler) guy, leading to some dilemmas and some hilarious scenes, including a w Fantasy is all the rage these days, so it's nice when a truly realistic book like this one comes along--a book that really could happen, about normal kids! Ren (boy) and Sutton (girl) have each recently moved to the country, next door to each other, and are trying to get through the summer. As is typical for middle school books (and students!), Ren realizes that his (former) best friend Aiden is now hanging out with a (cooler) guy, leading to some dilemmas and some hilarious scenes, including a wardrobe overhaul and an ill-fated pool party. Ren has also told everyone that he is going to be on the cross country team and is working through a training regimen set by his dad (a former running star)--the only problem is, he's not sure he actually likes running. Sutton has recently started training Birmingham Roller pigeons, and working with her and the birds proves to be much more interesting than running for Ren--partly because pigeons somersaulting through the sky is fascinating, and partly because Sutton is quite interesting, with her fire red hair and casual, don't-care-what-people-think attitude. Also, her dad is in the hospital recovering from a serious injury. Ren and Sutton navigate and re-negotiate their dreams and relationships throughout the book in a realistic and satisfying way. Recommended for older school age and middle school readers who want a book about "real kids"!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ames Public Library Youth Services

    Fantasy is all the rage these days, so it's nice when a truly realistic book like this one comes along--a book that really could happen, about normal kids! Ren (boy) and Sutton (girl) have each recently moved to the country, next door to each other, and are trying to get through the summer. As is typical for middle school books (and students!), Ren realizes that his (former) best friend Aiden is now hanging out with a (cooler) guy, leading to some dilemmas and some hilarious scenes, including a w Fantasy is all the rage these days, so it's nice when a truly realistic book like this one comes along--a book that really could happen, about normal kids! Ren (boy) and Sutton (girl) have each recently moved to the country, next door to each other, and are trying to get through the summer. As is typical for middle school books (and students!), Ren realizes that his (former) best friend Aiden is now hanging out with a (cooler) guy, leading to some dilemmas and some hilarious scenes, including a wardrobe overhaul and an ill-fated pool party. Ren has also told everyone that he is going to be on the cross country team and is working through a training regimen set by his dad (a former running star)--the only problem is, he's not sure he actually likes running. Sutton has recently started training Birmingham Roller pigeons, and working with her and the birds proves to be much more interesting than running for Ren--partly because pigeons somersaulting through the sky is fascinating, and partly because Sutton is quite interesting, with her fire red hair and casual, don't-care-what-people-think attitude. Also, her dad is in the hospital recovering from a serious injury. Ren and Sutton navigate and re-negotiate their dreams and relationships throughout the book in a realistic and satisfying way. Recommended for older school age and middle school readers who want a book about "real kids"! -A. Tuckness

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Bange

    The summer Lauren (“Ren”) Hall’s family moves into his late grandmother’s home is a pivotal one. He and his childhood best friend Aiden are moving apart, he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and try out for the cross-country team, and his new neighbor Sutton introduces him to the world of training pigeons. It all comes to a head when Ren and Sutton attend the pool party being thrown by Aiden’s new buddy, the popular Kurt. This middle grade book is full of the angst expected from this The summer Lauren (“Ren”) Hall’s family moves into his late grandmother’s home is a pivotal one. He and his childhood best friend Aiden are moving apart, he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and try out for the cross-country team, and his new neighbor Sutton introduces him to the world of training pigeons. It all comes to a head when Ren and Sutton attend the pool party being thrown by Aiden’s new buddy, the popular Kurt. This middle grade book is full of the angst expected from this age group. What sets it apart from others is that it is told from a boy’s point of view. Ren is appropriately geeky and doesn’t always fit in with the rest of the crowd at school, as he is more interested in comics and smart as all get-out. Sutton is comfortable with who she is, expressing it visually by dying her hair and training pigeons. My only quibble is that Sutton states that she is eleven years old; she and most of the characters act a few years older than that. Lots of great passages to savor as Ren begins learning some hard life lessons (people change with time as do friendships, you don’t have to live up to your father’s legacy – it’s OK to create your own). Great vocabulary words can be found throughout. “Ren’s Pigeon Facts” is appended. Recommended for grades 5-8.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maria Antonia

    Basic plot: Ren and his family have moved out of town to his grandma's old farmhouse in the country. Under his dad's guidance, he's in training to run cross-country. During one early morning run, he meets Sutton, the (new) girl next door, and discovers that she's training Birmingham Roller Pigeons. As Ren tries to find his footing (how to relate to the best friend he left behind, how to improve his run times, etc), he also finds himself drawn to Sutton and her pigeons. Now, if only he can get th Basic plot: Ren and his family have moved out of town to his grandma's old farmhouse in the country. Under his dad's guidance, he's in training to run cross-country. During one early morning run, he meets Sutton, the (new) girl next door, and discovers that she's training Birmingham Roller Pigeons. As Ren tries to find his footing (how to relate to the best friend he left behind, how to improve his run times, etc), he also finds himself drawn to Sutton and her pigeons. Now, if only he can get the courage to tell his dad that he doesn't want to be a great athlete. WHAT’S COOL… 1) The Birmingham Roller Pigeons were pretty cool. Had to look them up on youtube because I have never heard of this before. 2) I like the friendship that develops between Sutton and Ren, especially how they bond over the pigeons. And with the pigeons! 3) I enjoyed Ren's voice in this book. I liked his nerdiness and how his narration showed that part of him. 4) The comic book thread was a fun aspect of the book. Ren is obsessed with old British comics, ones I'm not familiar with. But sure enough, when I looked them up online, I find that they do indeed exist. (I like how Ren and Sutton watch the old Adam West Batman show!) 5) I also liked how the whole cross-country running thing turned out. Ren's dad is a runner and Ren expects that he needs to be a runner as well. And even though he tries, Sutton sees the truth. Ren just doesn't quite LOVE running the way his dad does. WHAT’S NOT COOL… 1) I had a hard time envisioning how Sutton was "training" her pigeons. I got how they flew, but what was she doing to actually "train" them? 2) Ren's real name is Lauren, which he tells us (right away) that he hates. (I don't blame him.) Then why does he introduce himself to several people as Lauren? Why not just say that his name is Ren. This did not make sense to me. FINAL THOUGHTS My rating is 3 Stars (out of 5) – I liked the book. The bit about the roller pigeons was pretty fascinating. Who knew that actually existed!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen Stanton

    I liked this sweet book about a boy and a girl who meet when different circumstances bring them to a small town. Lauren is adjusting after moving into his grandparents' house, and Sutton is adjusting after moving from the big city and having her father get into a terrible accident. Their paths cross when Lauren (who is trying to train for cross country to please his father) comes across pigeons "rolling" from the sky and joins Sutton in the world of Birmingham roller pigeons - a phenomenon that I liked this sweet book about a boy and a girl who meet when different circumstances bring them to a small town. Lauren is adjusting after moving into his grandparents' house, and Sutton is adjusting after moving from the big city and having her father get into a terrible accident. Their paths cross when Lauren (who is trying to train for cross country to please his father) comes across pigeons "rolling" from the sky and joins Sutton in the world of Birmingham roller pigeons - a phenomenon that I knew nothing about before reading this book. (Darcy Miller's dad was a farrier, apparently, and she is a wealth of knowledge on this subject - which I love! I see kids going onto Youtube to learn more about this after reading Roll.) Great story of identity, change, friendship, and engagement (in something other than a phone.) I have warm feelings toward this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was a great read aloud book for our family because: (1) My 9 year old was belly laughing out loud at Ren's humor (and we all need to hear more belly laughs). (2) My 9 year old didn't want to put the book down, and was willing to read aloud (which doesn't always happen). (3) There were interesting literary and thematic elements making this a good book for home learning. (4) It provided a great opportunity to talk about changing family and friend relationships, common for this phase of life. (5) I This was a great read aloud book for our family because: (1) My 9 year old was belly laughing out loud at Ren's humor (and we all need to hear more belly laughs). (2) My 9 year old didn't want to put the book down, and was willing to read aloud (which doesn't always happen). (3) There were interesting literary and thematic elements making this a good book for home learning. (4) It provided a great opportunity to talk about changing family and friend relationships, common for this phase of life. (5) It was really interesting to learn more about Birmingham Roller Pigeons. (6) ROLL tapped in to authentic confusing adolescent relationships ending in a way that empowers the reader to think about changing relationships as healthy and normal. I'm looking forward to reading Darcy Miller's next book!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Roll is good. Like, underappreciated good. The glut of middle-grade books out there, with their fancy covers and hope-to-become-a-series styling, subscribe to the more is more mentality and beat-you-over-the-head messaging, often about self-fulfillment (at age 12??) or social/racial justice. The authors of those books could take a cue from Darcy Miller and keep. it. simple. What worked for Roll was its straight-forward plot, small cast of characters, and a unique topic to spearhead it all. Pigeo Roll is good. Like, underappreciated good. The glut of middle-grade books out there, with their fancy covers and hope-to-become-a-series styling, subscribe to the more is more mentality and beat-you-over-the-head messaging, often about self-fulfillment (at age 12??) or social/racial justice. The authors of those books could take a cue from Darcy Miller and keep. it. simple. What worked for Roll was its straight-forward plot, small cast of characters, and a unique topic to spearhead it all. Pigeons that roll are definitely unique. I was a little worried when the boy's name was Lauren (Ren for short, which I adore) and the girl's hair and eyes were unnatural in their description. But it was a false alarm. This is, at its core, a story of discovering your passion, which has a tendency to evolve as we grow. It can change because we drift from our parents' interests to our own, or because of transition in geography or age or friends. I liked that we followed Ren in the months separating 5th and 6th grade, a moment in development that toes the line between childhood into young adult. It's also awkward as all get-out. All you can do is roll with the punches. I'm looking forward to reading this to my class next year, and that's about as a high a compliment I can bestow on a chapter book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Arend

    This book felt a little bit like a quiet evening at home. It was a comfortable read, not too tense or colorful. A solid three stars. Ren has just moved from the city into a farm house in Minnesota. It is the summer before sixth grade and Ren has the sneaking suspicion that his best friend is changing into someone Ren doesn't want to be friends with. Enter the girl next door. Sutton is new to the small farm town. Ren is immediately drawn to her, not because of her colored hair or black t-shirt st This book felt a little bit like a quiet evening at home. It was a comfortable read, not too tense or colorful. A solid three stars. Ren has just moved from the city into a farm house in Minnesota. It is the summer before sixth grade and Ren has the sneaking suspicion that his best friend is changing into someone Ren doesn't want to be friends with. Enter the girl next door. Sutton is new to the small farm town. Ren is immediately drawn to her, not because of her colored hair or black t-shirt style, but because Sutton has an entire coop full of roller pigeons. As Ren works to help her train her flock for the upcoming roller pigeon competition, he learns a few things about friendship that ultimately help him learn about himself.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Tanner

    This is a coming of age story set in a rural part of southern Minnesota. Ren lives with his parents in his grandparents former house where they just moved. It's close to their old house so he still sees his old friends and goes to his same school, but things are different. A girl moves into the house closest to them and she's really different-she's from Washington, DC, her hair is wildly colored and she's training pigeons. But it turns out they have more in common then Ren initially thought and This is a coming of age story set in a rural part of southern Minnesota. Ren lives with his parents in his grandparents former house where they just moved. It's close to their old house so he still sees his old friends and goes to his same school, but things are different. A girl moves into the house closest to them and she's really different-she's from Washington, DC, her hair is wildly colored and she's training pigeons. But it turns out they have more in common then Ren initially thought and he starts to think about what he really wants. It's a really nice story and there's a lot of information about pigeons, which was a lot more interesting than I thought it was going to be.

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