Written by Allison Lips
Push Girl is a novelization of Push Girls (which airs on SundanceTV) cast member and Walk and Roll Founder Chelsie Hill’s (co-written with Jessica Love) experiences after becoming paralyzed in a car accident. It’s geared toward a middle school audience and shows it. Any adults looking for insight into Chelsie Hill are best advised to look for interviews on YouTube.
The novel is syrupy, predictable, and poorly executed. In Push Girl, the character based on Hill is named Kara. Before the accident, she had it all and was a tad bratty. Kara decided to ditch her old friends because she got in with the popular kids thanks to her super popular and hot boyfriend, Curt. After the accident that paralyzes her from the waist down, Curt ditches Kara for a popular girl with an attitude problem. If you didn’t see that coming, you never went to high school.
Ironically, those old friends Kara was trying to ditch become the only people who stand by her as she recovers and adjusts to her new reality. Amanda and Jack encourage her to educate people on spinal cord injuries and start up a chapter of Walk and Roll, which is a real charity founded by Chelsie Hill, at their high school.
The story in Push Girl, while based on a true story, never rises above the clichés found in every other book targeted toward preteen girls. Girl gets boy. Boy dumps girl after something tragic. Boy now dates popular girl. Girl who went through tragedy now does something that people find inspiring, which then makes her popular in a different way.
As a preteen girl, I read hundreds of books with that formula. Most of them were pretty terrible. I want to say Push Girl is different, but it isn’t. Part of the problem is that Kara insists she’s not an inspiration, yet proceeds to act like other people should find her an inspiration. She doesn’t realize you can’t have it both ways.
Hill would have been better off writing a memoir, but that might have fallen flat considering the show she’s on inspired a fellow wheelchair user to write this review. At least a memoir wouldn’t have led to adults using the word “feels” when they mean feelings and arbitrarily deciding that it’s okay to say “douche” and “dick,” but spelling the out the word “asshole,” which is censored as “a-hole,” is going too far.
The entire book feels forced. However, if one young girl, who is paralyzed, reads this book and realizes that her life isn’t over, the existence of Push Girl is more than justified.
Allison Lips is the Founder of Wait! What’s a Dial?, a television blog that showcases the writing of millennials. Currently, she has an internship with Bray Entertainment. Allison graduated from Rowan University in May 2013. She has a passion for TV history, especially late night and game shows. If she could go back in time, Steve Allen would still be hosting The Tonight Show. Follow her on Twitter @waitwaitsadial