New York : The Dial Press, ., ©2022
405 pages ; 22 cm
"Gabe Montesanti grew up queer in a working-class, conservative Catholic family in the Midwest, where she was taught to prioritize strength and impenetrability over vulnerability and honesty. In this emotionally, physically, and spiritually abusive environment, she developed a severe eating disorder, never learned to trust herself, and lived in constant fear. As she enters graduate school, she vows to put the trauma of her past behind her and to learn to fully inhabit her body. She joins Arch Rival Roller Derby in St. Louis, one of the top-rated teams in the country, and instantly falls in love with the roughness, intensity, and roller derby's open embrace of people who are literally and figuratively scarred. Gabe soon finds community, safety, and a sense of belonging, reveling in the queer-friendly environment, the tattoos, glitter, and campiness. She chooses the derby name Joan of Spark, modeling herself after the fierce and independent Joan of Arc, to signify all the ways she's left behind the baggage of her childhood. But when Gabe suffers a catastrophic injury, her unresolved trauma catches up to her. In the aftermath of her accident, it becomes impossible to ignore how the physicality of roller derby mirrors the emotional violence of her upbringing. Gabe's arduous physical recovery is matched only by the painful process of beginning to heal her emotional wounds. Forced to reckon with her past, she must decide if she can be Joan of Spark off the track, too--skating into a bolder, truer future"--,Provided by publisher.