Nova Weetman is one of our most reliable authors for young people; you know that you're going to get a well-crafted, relatable story with sympathetic characters and realistic problems. The Jammer centres on Fred, whose mother has just died. Her dad has brought her to Melbourne, to meet the people her mum was close to; talking about her and sharing memories is the way he deals with his own grief. But Fred just wants to shut out everything that reminds her of her mother, and that includes roller derby.
Weetman does a fantastic job of conveying the rush and thrill of this chaotic, fast-paced sport, and the supportive, diverse community that has formed around it. There was an extra treat for me in that the book is set in my own home suburb of Preston -- because of the real roller derby venue, I wonder? I did have a little trouble mapping the geography of the book onto my own familiar streets, but hey, we have to permit some artistic licence, don't we? Weetman has experienced her own deeply personal grief recently, and I know that The Jammer will help plenty of people going through their own pain.