Thursday, February 7, 2013


Shelley Hrdlitschka
Orca, 2013
$12.95, Softcover

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age: 14+
Description: Allegra is the daughter of a mother in an orchestra and a father who is a guitarist in a super popular band. Allegra, while she likes music, much prefers dancing. In a deal with her mother (since her father is always on the road touring) she spent many years studying piano and other forms of music in order to determine if dance was what she truly wanted to do and it is. She has no interest in following her parents’ footsteps. She is transferred to a performing arts school where her whole curriculum can focus on various types of dance from ballet to jazz to hip hop. However, she isn’t happy to find out on the first day of school that she has been placed in a music theory class. She has already taken music theory classes and feels that her time would be better spent on more dance classes. When the teacher, new, young Mr. Rochelli, refuses to let her out of the course she finds herself making a compromise with him. She tests out of the course and instead is given the challenge of taking one small piece of music Rochelli has composed and writing a whole orchestra performance from scratch. He wants her to see how music is important and will make her a better dancer because without music there is nothing to dance too. Unfortunately, Allegra has some troubles making friends and she is shocked to learn that her mother appears to be having an affair and that her parents are going to break up. She somehow channels all her feelings and emotions into her working relationship with Mr. Rochelli. Does he have the same feelings for her or is she misunderstanding his signals?
Opinion: Allegra is a quick read (I read it in a day) but is a very typical girl falls in love with young, hot, male teacher. While it was fast paced and kept my attention it wasn’t a spectacular read. It was good though. Of course, Allegra misinterprets the teacher’s feelings and gets him in major trouble. The nice thing about this portrayal was that Allegra is shown (after confessing her feelings) to realize what a mistake it was and that she’s just lonely and she really does try to prove Mr. Rochelli’s innocence and that he didn’t do anything wrong. The biggest problem that I had with the book though was that Allegra comes off as a stuck up gifted student. She thinks she is so above everyone else. She doesn’t need to take music theory, she mocks the beginning talents of the other students in her class, she has trouble making friends and when she does she’s awkward about it and ends up alienating them. She was a very hard character to find sympathy for as she preferred being by herself, doing nothing but dancing, and thinking she is better than everyone else. Overall, it was an alright read. As this is a YA Galley Group project title, I can’t wait to see the opinions of my teens when they read it.

*Thanks to Leslie Bottle for providing an ARC of this title for the YA Galley Group project!*

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