by Angela Cervantes
Available March 29, 2016
Middle school student Allie Velasco is tired of being overshadowed. Everyone in her family is an over-achiever--her grandfather was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, her younger sister is the star of television commercials, her brother is a stellar soccer player and her older sister won a national debate. Allie dreams of making her mark, of being the best or of being the first. She wants to prove to her family that she, Allie, is good at something. She wants that first place trophy or that blue ribbon. Allie spends so much time pining to be the best that she misses life happening around her.
When her science fair project goes awry, Allie is mad at another student who tried to help her. She is devastated when her family decides not to go to Allie's restaurant choice but to instead go an Italian restaurant to honor her sister's new commercial. Everyone is excited about Ava's success,--everyone but sister Adriana and Allie's grandfather who both come to her rescue. Readers will empathize with Allie who longs to be noticed as a success but feels only failure.
A new contest is announced in English class, and Allie is hoping to win. No one from Sendak has ever won the Trailblazer Award before, Allie realizes that if she were to win the award she would be the FIRST Sendak student to win. This makes it all the more important for Allie. Allie is concerned that her best friend Sarah is acting aloof. What is causing her best friend to act this way?
Middle school is a tough time--full of angst, full of questions, full of misgivings and full of misunderstandings. Allie learns a few lessons in her search for self achievement. Sometimes being the best or being the first isn't the most important thing. Sometimes the most important things are the people around you and the experience itself.
Recommended grade 5-up. This is a quick read with short chapters and 209 pages.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
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