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[The authors] found that 60 percent of the kindergartners in neighborhoods where children did poorly in school did not... More
Summary: Who is Allegra Biscotti? Only her parents, Charlie Calhoun (her web designer) and Paige, the editor of Madison fashion magazine knew that up-and-coming designer Allegra Biscotti is Emma Rose. Emma hadn't even told her best friend Holly! She wanted to, but. She's been featured in Madison magazine, invited to a pop-up shop to display her designs and now a client of Paige's wants a one-of-a-kind party dress for her daughter. Life is good. Until its not. The birthday girl is Rylan Sinclare, the high school queen and Emma is not on her friend list! The client (Rylan's mom) wants a dress that matches the table linens and is demanding to meet Allegra. Rylan invites Emma (Allegra's "intern") to her birthday party; how is she going to explain this to Holly? This is a middle grade / young adult novel about friendship, fashion, and pursuing your dreams.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and Up; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 11 to 15
Reading Level: 4.8
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: For the first few chapters, I thought this was going to be a typical frenemies book with a fashionista twist. At that point, Charlie is what kept me reading. He's a fun, character who helps ground the story (and also adds humor). Once Emma starts working on her new collection for the pop-up shop, the story improves significantly and adds several layers. In addition to a guided tour of being a fashion designer, Rylan Sinclare and her mom challenge Emma's (and reader's) assumptions.
Pros: Friendship, secrets, and dreams collide in this fast-paced novel about a teen fashion designer.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. For the novice, it is a fun story even without fashion knowledge. If you have a child interested in design and drawing, definitely buy. They will enjoy the sketch work, info on the artistic process, and details about the business.
Educational Themes: Insight into the behind-the-scenes life of a high school "queen" is an opportunity for talking about assumptions and bullyies - and how to deal with them. Although the focus in the story is on Emma's design, the plot also has information about life balance, priorities, and the fundamentals of running a business.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - friendship, family, jobs, middle grade, young adult, life lessons
Date(s) Reviewed: May 2016
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.