Cervantes, Angela. Allie, First and Last
March 29th 2016 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Allie has a high-powered brother and sisters--Ava does local commercials, Aidan is a star soccer player, and Adriana wins debates and has set up a tutoring program in their community. Even Allie's Bisabuelo (great-grandfather) is a decorated WWII veteran who is still going strong at 91. Allie has never done anything "first", and when the oppotunity arises to be the first winner of a contest from Sendak Elementary School, Allie decides to do a photo essay about her great-grandfather. Fifth grade has been a tough year for her, since her best friend Sara has abandoned her and hangs out with Hayley, who suffers from "lip gloss poisoning"! (I loved this description of what was "wrong" with Hayley!) Not only that, but Sara has won the science fair competition that Allie was determined to win and is composing a song about Allie's great-grandfather.
Allie is fortunate that her parents are on her side and supportive, as is her older sister. She also makes a new friend in Victor, who is new to her school. Victor is a fascinating character-- I loved that Allie assumed that he was being tutored when in fact he was one of the tutors. Victor has ambitions just like Allie does, since his parents never got further than the 6th grade. He is trying very hard to get a scholarship to Bishop Creek Middle School so that he can do well academically, and Allie hopes that he can go there with her.
Like Hurwitz's Calli Be Gold, Allie, First and Last is an engaging story about how much school, and doing well in school, can mean to some students.
My only problem with this book was that I thought it might be a sequel to Gaby, Lost and Found, because it talked about a project that Allie did with an animal shelter. Still not entirely sure, but don't think it is! The covers were so similar, with the cats, that I guess I just wanted it to be!