Synopsis: What’s more terrifying than being forced into a coed combat wrestling martial art by your own mother? Sixth grade.

Angie Larson hates Jiu-Jitsu. Like many twelve-year-old girls, she fails to find the glamour in a martial art that embraces zero personal space and choking as an end goal. Seriously, people choke her, drip sweat on her face, and even wrap their legs around her neck. It’s the worst. Instead, she idolizes the seemingly perfect kids at her school who do “normal” activities like dance or soccer. But just when it seems like Angie is about to be accepted by them, her mom enrolls her in a Jiu-Jitsu tournament and begins a relationship with the sweatiest coach on the planet. And to make things more complicated, Angie develops a close friendship with a boy who is definitely not part of the “cool” crowd.

Angie must decide who she is while making some painful decisions both on and off the mat. Is she a dance girl, a soccer girl, a nothing girl . . . or a Jiu-Jitsu girl?

Release Date: 24th January 2023

Genres: Middle Grade, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Sports, Jiu-Jitsu, Self-Confidence, Bullying, Friendship

Pages: 256

Thank you so much to Jolly Fish Press and Netgalley for the ebook to read and review.

Review: Angie is an invisible girl who has just moved to a new place, is being forced by her mom to take part in a sport she doesn’t enjoy Jiu-Jitsu. Then at her new school she is assigned partners with a popular girl Olivia who she desperately wants to impress.

This book deals with a lot of issues that are written and handled well, doing something you hate, trying to fit in, being bullied and learning self confidence. There is a lot of bullying in this story which is a bit much at times. Our protagonist uses all she knows and has been taught to protect herself.

She is forced by her mom to do a what his known as a male centric sport that she detests. Jiu-Jitsu is something she really hates and creates a long list of reason she wants to stop doing it. Her mom ignores her feelings knowing over time she will need it and love it. Over time within the book she realises that it was vital and it helped her when she needed it. I do love that she grew to appreciate the sport, it’s good representation for a sport not wildly known about and especially not with girls.

She goes through such a big change within this book from her being invisible at her previous school and unhappy with it, to being given a chance to change everything about who she is wanting to upgrade herself with new clothing just to belong. The girls she idolises and thought could be her best friends end up just being bullies. She learns a lot of life lessons through these changes in her life, mostly about who she really is.

I loved that over time she over comes so many obstacles, she learns so much about herself, does make a good best friend and realises there was so much more to her than changing herself for the popular girls. Her self-confidence grows so much from the invisible girl we meet in chapter one to the girl we see by the end of the story. It was really great character progression.

This book will teach readers a lot and they will certainly find themselves within the pages of this book. Angie is a relatable voice to the middle grade age group as she learns so much about her self, who she truly is. It is told in a very heartfelt way but with some humour mixed in too. I think it will be a book readers will enjoy a lot.


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