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Falling Hard
Falling Hard
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Reviewed Titles

Falling Hard

When Annie moves from London to a small town in the midwest, she struggles to fit in. She gets off to a bad start when she makes an enemy of her school's queen bee, Kelsey. But she discovers a new passion, the exciting sport of roller derby, and makes friends with the cool and quirky girls on her team, the Liberty Belles. She also meets Jesse, the friendly boy who works at the roller rink, and Tyler, a cute, all-American sports star.

PublisherCapstone Young Readers
Age Level12-14 Years
Reading LevelGrades 8-10
GenreRealistic Fiction
Trim Size5 x 7 3/4
Page Count256
Paper Over Board



Kirkus Reviews

"This fun romp of a girls’ sports story would make a highly watchable flick…" - Kirkus Reviews

July 1, 2013

Bookhound blog - Mel Odom

"Sparks does a really good job getting into Annie’s world and showing all the trials and doubts she goes through while trying to find herself. . . .This is a fun book, a diversion and an exploration of a sport that many young readers may not know that much about..." - Bookhound blog

July 27, 2013

Publishers Weekly

"...subtle wisdom about establishing one's identity within a new context finds its way into the novel's pivotal moments." - Publishers Weekly

August 5, 2013


Book Sniffers Anonymous blog - Kristin

"This book is great for a younger teen crowd. . . .a good story about setting your mind to something and succeeding." - Book Sniffers Anonymous blog

July 30, 2013

Keystrokes and Word Counts blog - MB Mulhall

"A fun light read that’s suitable for a younger crowd (perfect for your Middle Grade aged readers who are reading on a YA level). There’s no swearing, no risque situations and a very present parent figure (uncommon in a lot of YA stuff). . . .a cute, quick read about fitting in and being yourself." - Keystrokes and Word Counts blog

June 25, 2013

Indie Reader Girl 0329 blog - Hannah

"I read this book in a day. I couldn’t put it down. I laughed, a lot. . . .Give this little gem a try. You won’t regret it." - Indie Reader Girl 0329 blog

October 19, 2013


NetGalley Review - Daniëlle Sturkenboom

"I really loved this book." - NetGalley Review

July 12, 2013

NetGalley Review - Kathy Grupe

"What a sweet story with gorgeous illustrations." - NetGalley Review

August 1, 2013

Kate McMurray and Marie August - Kate McMurray

"Terrific, YA, girl-power sports adventure suitable for all ages." - Kate McMurray and Marie August

August 3, 2013


YALSA The Hub - Jessica Lind

"...I love stories that portray female characters in situations where they are allowed to be strong, unique, and have great relationships. Sports-centered stories can provide a great setting for these characters to live. . . .Roller derby is also noteworthy in its diversity. Derby girls can be anyone – any height, weight, race, sexual orientation, hair color, and hobby outside derby. It is a sport that teaches them to have self-confidence, and to be proud of their bodies and what they can do." - YALSA The Hub

September 18, 2013

NetGalley Review - Chrissy G

"I would especially recommend FALLING HARD for any fans of the movie WHIP IT (2009), which was my introduction into the sport of roller derby. While there is a hint of romance in FALLING HARD, the plot primarily focuses on Annie's friendships during her adjustment period, as well as the details of her roller derby practices. . . .FALLING HARD was a quick, fun read that was something a little different than the trends of paranormal insta-love or hard-hitting dystopia that are so popular in young adult fiction." - NetGalley Review

July 22, 2013

NetGalley Review - Angela Courington

"As a former "derby girl" myself, I found the descriptions of the skating, atmosphere, and participants to be very accurate. The author paints a very positive picture of the girl's sport of roller derby, which has gained popularity world-wide. This sport encourages team-work, girl power, and individuality to girls (and women) who may not feel like they "fit in" anywhere else. Girls of all shapes, sizes and skill levels are accepted in this sport. . . .This story teaches some very important life lessons for the YA genre. The author captures the teenage worries and hopes so well, I felt like I was pulled in to the story, and was able to connect with the characters." - NetGalley Review

June 6, 2013


Once Upon a Moonlight blog

"This was a very refreshing read of which made you laugh in hysterics and bite-your-nails with nervousness, it also gave a real insight into the sport of roller derby which I really enjoyed seeing as I haven't heard much about it before." - Once Upon a Moonlight blog

July 3, 2013

NetGalley Review - Jessica Lind

"I LOVED this book! I was very excited to see it was a roller derby based series and it did not disappoint. I think Annie has a great voice and is quite easy to relate to even though the character is a British ex-pat in the States. . . .I can see myself recommending it to younger and older teens. I definitely think that this book will have a place in my library and can imagine using it often for reader's advisory." - NetGalley Review

August 22, 2013

NetGalley Review - Alisha Tarran

"The title of this book led me to believe it was a romance, it was in a way, just not with a guy, with a new sport. I found the insight into the Roller Derby scene refreshing as it was something I didn't know about, and I enjoyed it hugely." - NetGalley Review

August 22, 2013


Starry-Eyed Heart Book blog

"Though directed towards teens, Falling Hard is the perfect summer read even for YA lovers!" - Starry-Eyed Heart Book blog

June 30, 2013

Diamonds and Coal Book Reviews blog - Anna

"...I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a light, fluffy and fun read that is something I'd recommend for younger teens in middle school or early high school." - Diamonds and Coal Book Reviews blog

August 31, 2013

NetGalley Review - Amy Cadell

"It was great to have a main character who chooses a nontraditional sport over the one that will make her the most popular. I think it was a good read for the younger YA audience (middle school, most likely) because it was clean and had a main character who had a lot of good qualities (hard worker, good daughter, nice to her peers, etc.)." - NetGalley Review

July 21, 2013


Library Media Connection - C. Ellen Wickham, Library Media Specialist, Raytown South High School, Raytown,

"Clean roller derby action and a little romance highlight these coming-of-age stories, along with plenty of popular culture references to keep teen readers engaged." - Library Media Connection

August 1, 2014

Sporty Girl Books - S. Mozer

"I thought that Annie's struggle to fit in, not just in her new school and new country, but in her new role as a non-gymnist added depth to her character. . . .I'll definitely be reading that next book, and the others in the series as well. If you are a middle grader who reads YA or a teen or adult looking for a fun sporty read, you should too." - Sporty Girl Books

September 24, 2013

NetGalley Review - Lynda Smock

"Captivating! A well written book with a target audience of middle school. Fast paced and easy to read. The emotions were real and it was age appropriate on both topic choice and language!" - NetGalley Review

August 22, 2013


Elizzie Books blog - Liz

"The book read like a Disney Channel Original Movie with an emphasis on Roller Derby 101. It was a cute read and I learned a lot more about Roller Derby." - Elizzie Books blog

July 25, 2013

The Book Obsession Clinic blog

"...a great coming of age story for younger readers experiencing the YA genre for the first time." - The Book Obsession Clinic blog

June 22, 2013

Megan Sparks

Megan Sparks

Megan Sparks is the author of the Roller Girls series. The first two books in the series, Falling Hard and Hell's Belles, were published by Capstone Young Readers in 2013. Kirkus Reviews called Falling Hard a "fun romp of a girls' sports story."

Go to the Author’s Page →