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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 280
Themes: music, dance, ambition, friendship, student/teacher relationships
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Apr/2013
Lexile Level: 640L
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Allegra thinks being at a performing-arts high school will change her life and make her a better dancer. But high school is still high school, complete with cliques, competition and cruelty. Allegra's refuge comes in the form of a class she doesn't want to take—music theory, taught by a very young, very attractive male teacher. Soon all Allegra can think about is music composition—and Mr. Rochelli. But has she misunderstood his attention, or is he really her soul mate?

YALSA Teens' Top Ten Galley Review
"I ADORED the musical connection. I know exactly what that feels like. This is a wonderful book for the serious teenage musician."
Quill & Quire
"As an examination of mental health troubles, the book is a sophisticated and subtle anomaly in a genre that often places emphasis on the 'issues' first and characters second. Hrdlitschka's prose is clean and clear...Avoiding the one-dimensional depictions often foisted on older generations in YA, Allegra's mother and father are fully realized, flawed, and believable...You can't hear the music, but you can feel it in this fresh, engrossing story."
Canadian Children's Book News
"Hrdlitschka does an excellent job of illustrating the subtle, gradual and easily understandable shift in [the] relationship [between Allegra and her teacher]...Allegra's vulnerability and need to connect with somebody make her a sympathetic character, whom readers will like...A story of transformation."
Publishers Weekly
"[An] absorbing exploration of contemporary teen life...Hrdlitschka (Sister Wife) realistically depicts teenage emotional turmoil as Allegra's growing obsession with Mr. Rocchelli combines with despair at her parents' separation and the ups and downs of her new friendships. The main characters' devotion to the arts enriches the drama."
Shells, Tales and Sails blog
"Hrdlitschka balances well the importance of family and friendship in a difficult situation...There is a lot going on in this story, and it does not end in a way readers might suspect—so much the better."
CM Magazine
"Hrdlitschka takes a close look at the atmosphere of a performing arts academy and the pressures faced by students who are ambitious and anxious to excel...Allegra will appeal to young adult female readers who are interested in the performing arts...An interesting and enjoyable read."
Resource Links
"Readers will enjoy the exploration of topics such as friendship, dating, divorce, music, anxiety disorders and high school culture. Shelley Hrdlitschka has once again put a very human face on an issue which has made sensational headlines...A powerful novel which addresses the complex issue of controversial teacher-student relationships in a sensitive and thoughtful manner."
School Library Journal
"The musical creations...are described with loving detail but a light touch, appealing to both veteran musicians and neophytes, who will relish this opportunity to better appreciate the power of music. Allegra's artistic pursuits—and intense commitment—will resonate particularly with equally passionate teens, while her social anxiety and strained home life might be familiar, albeit painfully so, to a broader audience."


YALSA Best Fiction for YA  | 2014 | Short-listed
CCBC Best Books  | 2013 | Commended
Resource Links "The Year's Best"  | 2013 | Commended

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