Sunday, April 14, 2013

Allegra by Shelley Hrdlitschka: Book Review

AllegraAllegra
Author: Shelley Hrdlitschka
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers, 2013
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Age: 12 up, Young Adult fiction
Pages: 268

Allegra Whitford is a budding musician (and dancer), and her professional-musician parents would love nothing better than for her to follow in their footsteps. But Allegra wants to dance, and they are trying to be supportive. Now that she is in a performing arts school in her senior year, Allegra needs as many dance classes as possible. Forced to take Mr. Rocchelli’s Music Theory class, a subject she has already mastered, Allegra is told she can test out of the course if she composes one piece of music. She accepts the challenge. It helps that Allegra happens to like writing music, and of course, her parents are thrilled. Meanwhile, Mr. Rocchelli is genuinely impressed with Allegra’s talent. He shares her song-writing ability and offers to help. He is also Deer Lake’s new young teacher that practically every girl in school thinks is hot. Before long, a mutual attraction develops between the two, and Allegra’s friends in school begin to talk. Life gets even more complicated when Allegra’s parents separate. Allegra goes into a deep depression and grows even more attached to Mr. Rocchelli. Talia and Spencer, the two friends who care most about Allegra, try to help, but Allegra has never been good with friends and pushes them away. She only knows that she and Mr. Rocchelli have done nothing wrong and their feelings for each other are real. What Allegra doesn’t realize is that Mr. Rocchelli could be barred from teaching; she could lose her chance to be a dancer; and that closing the door to friendship could have a snowball effect. Torn between love for Mr. Rocchelli (“Noel”), missing her parents, and listening to well-meaning friends, Allegra is about to lose everything she holds dear. Hrdlitschka balances well the importance of family and friendship in a difficult situation. I liked Allegra but found it difficult to describe. There is a lot going on in this story, and it does not end in a way readers might suspect--so much the better. I like surprises.     


Copyright 2013 Sharon M. Himsl 

4 comments:

  1. I reviewed one of her books called Gotcha! for School Library Journal a good number of years ago. It wasn't one of my favorites, but this particular story idea sounds more intriguing.

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  2. Thanks for your comment, Cathy!

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  3. Thanks for reading Allegra, Sharon! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
    Shelley Hrdlitschka

    http://shelleyhrdlitschka.wordpress.com/

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  4. Thanks for stopping by, Shelley. Wishing you the best of success!

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