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Roll for Initiative

Cover Art: Sara Gianassi       Cover Design: Marissa Raybuck


     Perfect for fans of Dungeons & Dragons, Raina Telgemeier, and Jessica Kim, a heartfelt coming-of-age middle grade novel about finding your voice and believing in your best geeky self.    


     Riley Henderson has never taken a bus to school in her entire life. Or made an afterschool snack, or finished her homework on her own, or—ewww—done her own laundry. That’s what her older brother Devin was for.
     But now Devin’s gone. He’s off in California attending a fancy college gaming program while Riley is stuck alone in Florida with her mom. That is, until a cool nerd named Lucy gives Riley no choice but to get over her shyness and fear of rejection and become friends. The best part is . . . both girls are into Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, playing D&D was something Riley and Devin used to do together, with Devin as the dungeon master, guiding Riley through his intricately planned campaigns. So, of course, Riley is more than a little nervous when Lucy suggests that she run a campaign for them. For the chance at a friend, though, she’s willing to give it a shot. Soon, their party grows and with the help of her new D&D friends, Riley discovers that not only can she function without Devin, she kind of likes it. She figures out that bus thing, totes the clothes down to the laundry room and sets up her D&D campaigns right there on the slightly suspect folding table, makes her own snacks and dinner— the whole deal. But when Devin runs into trouble with his program and returns home, it's pretty clear, even to Riley, that since he can’t navigate his own life, he’s going to live Riley’s for her. Now she has to help Devin go back to college and prove to her mom that she can take care of herself . . . all before the upcoming Winter-Con.

It's time to Roll for Initiative.

"Maxes out its stats in empathy, creativity, and character growth." ―Kirkus, Starred Review


“Formato’s debut rises to the occasion with a thoughtful tale of self-acceptance set against the backdrop of multisided dice. . . . The cherry on top is the magical in-text D&D gameplay, unlocking the game’s fantastical escapism and bonding opportunities.” ―School Library Journal

"A fun-filled winner, Roll for Initiative will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike. Readers will root for Riley as she navigates through friendships and family while keeping her first D&D campaign on track. A fantastic reminder that everyone can use a confidence boost, even those who seemingly have it all together."―Kim Long, author of Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament

"Formato's middle grade debut is a dazzling story about growing up and finding yourself along the way. This is the book that every D&D playing, comic book reading, gamer girl needs; I would adventure with Riley and her friends any day."―Nicole Melleby, award-winning author of How to Become a Planet

"Roll for Initiative will fan your creative spark and make you feel like you can do anything. I wish I were lucky enough to play a game at Riley’s table."  ―Amy Ratcliffe, author of Star Wars: Elee and Me and A Kid’s Guide to Fandom

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