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|Allie, first at last|
Author: Cervantes, Angela
Born into a family of over-achievers, fifth-grader Allie Velasco has never finished first in anything, and lately things have been going badly: her science project is ruined by a well-meaning student, her former best friend is hanging out with another girl--but now she is determined to win the Trailblazer contest with a photographic presentation about her great grandfather, the first Congressional Medal of Honor winner from their town.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 180363
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.40
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 67453
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/15/15)
School Library Journal (02/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2016 Allie feels the weight of achievements by her family members, from her beloved great-grandfather, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, to her two multi-award-winning older siblings and her younger sister, who has been acting in TV commercials for years. As Allie’s last year at Sendak Elementary School draws to a close, she feels enormous pressure to excel at something. Meanwhile, her best friend is drifting away, and stressed-out Allie seems to be making things worse. Some sage advice and an unforeseen crisis bring her misaligned values and actions more sharply into focus, enabling her to put things right. Cervantes, the author of Gaby, Lost and Found (2013), portrays Allie’s Mexican American family and community with warmth and shows her dilemma with a gradually widening perspective that lets readers gain understanding along with Allie. A sprinkling of Spanish words helps maintain the story’s cultural context. Throughout the clearly written, first-person narrative, the vivid scenes of fifth-grade conflicts, old and new friendships, and affectionate family life make this an accessible, appealing chapter book. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2016 Gr 4–6—In this realistic middle grade novel, Cervantes introduces a Latina fifth grader, Alyssa, otherwise known as Allie, who is struggling to find her place and identity as the third of four siblings in a family full of successful, award-winning individuals. She considers herself a failure when compared to Harvard-bound Adriana; his soccer whiz older brother, Aiden; and his younger sister Ava, a TV commercial star. Yet this is only half of the family: Allie's mom is a news anchor, and her dad is a fireman. It seems that everyone has won trophies and completed "firsts"—even her great grandfather is famous as the only World War II recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor alive in the state. Fifth grade can be rough, filled with changing relationships and an intense self-centered focus. Allie tries, but often fails, to be understanding when a new friend's help on her science fair project is a disaster and former best friend Sarah chooses the same topic for the Kansas Trailblazer Contest. The first-person narrative captures the disquieting feelings that often accompany the preteen years, including the protagonist's insights on her language proficiency and efforts to make the right decisions. VERDICT This will appeal to middle grade girls, particularly for independent reading.—Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, IL - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.