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Allie, First at Last
Cover of Allie, First at Last
Allie, First at Last
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Allie Velasco wants to be a trailblazer. A trendsetter. A winner. No better feeling exists in the world than stepping to the top of a winner's podium and hoisting a trophy high in the air. At least,...
Allie Velasco wants to be a trailblazer. A trendsetter. A winner. No better feeling exists in the world than stepping to the top of a winner's podium and hoisting a trophy high in the air. At least,...
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  • Allie Velasco wants to be a trailblazer. A trendsetter. A winner. No better feeling exists in the world than stepping to the top of a winner's podium and hoisting a trophy high in the air. At least, that's what Allie thinks . . . she's never actually won anything before. Everyone in her family is special in some way — her younger sister is a rising TV star; her brother is a soccer prodigy; her great-grandfather is a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. With a family like this, Allie knows she has to make her mark or risk being left behind. She's determined to add a shiny medal, blue ribbon, or beautiful trophy to her family's award shelf. When a prestigious school contest is announced, Allie has the perfect opportunity to take first — at last. There's just one small snag . . . her biggest competition is also her ex-best friend, Sara. Can Allie take top prize and win back a friend — or is she destined to lose it all?

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books awesomecity - it was awesome! Victor acted like he liked Allie.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 7, 2015
    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.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 15, 2015
    Nothing but a first-place trophy will do for a 10-year-old girl obsessed with living up to her family's name. Fifth-grader Allie Velasco is the least notable member of an accomplished Mexican-American family. Her Congressional Medal of Honor-winning Great-Gramps is a hometown hero; her mom is a popular Kansas City news anchor; Harvard-bound big sister Adriana is a national debate champion; brother Aiden is a middle school soccer MVP; and little sister Ava is a model and actress. The only thing Allie wants is to win something of her own before graduating from Sendak Elementary School. After losing the science fair on a technicality, disciplined Allie sets her sights on a local arts competition, and she has the perfect subject: her universally adored bisabuelo. Unfortunately, her ex-best-friend Sara Lopez has the exact same idea. Most of Cervantes' characters are Latino, but all readers should relate to Allie's insecurities, ambitions, sibling issues, and friendship dramas. The author beautifully depicts the loving intergenerational bond between Bisabuelo and his young great-grandkids and carefully explores the subtle and overt differences between third-generation American Allie and her new friend, Victor Garcia, who hopes to be the first person in his family to graduate from high school and college. A sweet middle-grade read that promotes compassion and empathy over competitiveness. (Fiction. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    February 1, 2016
    Grades 3-5 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.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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