Allie, First at Last

Angela Cervantes. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-545-81223-8
Allie Velasco comes from “a long line of ambitious “first evers”—her siblings are trophy-winning top students, soccer players, and even commercial actresses—but Allie has made it to fifth grade without nabbing a single medal. This year, she is determined to win the Kansas Trailblazer Contest, an arts competition, and add an award to her overachieving family’s trophy shelf. As Allie’s drive to win turns her into a “crazy chihuahua,” she also drives away her best friend, Sara. Can Allie’s selfless older sister, Adriana, and new friend Victor guide her through the struggles of the competition and her increasingly complicated social world? Will her beloved bisabeulo, a decorated WWII veteran, be able to show Allie what motivates a “true trailblazer”? Laced with Mexican-American language and culture, this realistic drama is filled with gentle humor, big lessons, and even bigger heart. Cervantes’s (Gaby, Lost and Found) earnest story may inspire a few readers to reach for “epic greatness” themselves, while reminding them that the “real rewards you can’t put on a shelf.” Ages 8–12. Agent: Adriana Dominguez, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/07/2015
Release date: 03/29/2016
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