What You Need to Know:|
• The Allegra Biscotti Collection is a perfect selection for the fashion enthusiast.
• A notebook style book design and “sketches” scattered throughout the pages help readers connect to the story.
• This book is filled with fashion industry terminology including patterns, colors, fabrics, textures and anything else
you can think of that’s related to design. The step-by-step process of creating garments is also explained in detail.
• The main character deals with minor popularity issues, the beginnings of boy/girl relationships and the complications
that arise from living a lie.
• New York City plays an important role in the story.
• It’s ironic that a book about a girl pretending to be someone else was written by an author using a pseudonym.
Looking for something fun and flirty or light and breezy this season? Try The Allegra Biscotti Collection on for size! I think it will be a perfect fit for many young readers. While the focus is definitely fashion, fashion and more fashion, the characters in the book also deal with the stereotypical drama of middle school. Given the New York City setting, the fancy private school, and the freedom that these kids have to travel around, the action is pleasantly age appropriate. It’s no Gossip Girls or even The Clique, so you can feel very comfortable putting it in the hands of your middle school readers. It’s more like The Devil Wears Prada - the design process takes priority, fashion is revered and relationships outside of fashion take a backseat. In this case, though, the "runway" is seen from a fourteen year-old’s point of view.
Middle School can be complicated for the average girl, but for Emma Rose, things get a little out of control. Up until now, she has spent most of her free time sketching design ideas, working at her dad’s lace warehouse in the garment district and hanging with a few close friends. But, as her best friend Holly says, “ ...everything’s different now that we’re in eighth grade.” Friendships are changing, cliques are forming, girls are acting mean, and new couples are emerging. On top of all that, Emma’s designs are suddenly getting the attention of her fashion idol, Paige Young. Of course she can’t tell Paige that she’s the designer because she’s sure her work won’t be taken seriously. Hence, Allegra Biscotti is born. With the help of her good friend, Charlie, and her dad’s eccentric employee, Marjorie, Emma tries to keep up the charade. That's no easy task with her mom on her case about schoolwork and the pressures of the school social scene on her mind. As Emma’s life becomes more complicated and the Allegra lie grows bigger, Emma must use her best judgment to decide how to handle it all.
Although there are limited consequences for her actions and she can be a little unassertive, Emma is generally a good role model. She doesn’t succumb to peer pressure. She makes her own choices about whom her friends should be and how to act around the other girls, and she’s completely confident about what to wear. At the same time, many girls will relate to her lack of confidence about her looks and how to deal with her first crush. When she starts to feel insecure about her fashion sense too, she reminds herself that "I need to concentrate on what I think, what I like, what makes me happy" - not a bad message.
Here are some of Emma’s thoughts on fashion...
“She understands their power. How they could transform a person.”
“Emma loved that a random piece of clothing could transport her parents to another place and time.”
“Didn’t they get that wearing clothes could be an art? How you could totally personalize clothes...?”
“Swear to Chanel.”
2010, 256 pages
Cliques/Popularity, Family Life, Friendship, Identity, Individuality, School, Urban
• Did Emma do the right thing when she made up Allegra? What would you have done in that situation?
• Should Emma have confided in her parents earlier? What do you think they would have done if she had?
• Why does Holly want to be friends with Ivana and the “Ivana-bees”?
• Why is Emma’s relationship with Charlie so easy but with Jackson, so hard?
• How would you feel if your mom worked in your school?
• In what ways can clothes “transform” a person?
• Do you take fashion risks? Why or why not?
• What patterns or shapes do you notice in your everyday life that might also work in either fashion or art?
This recommendation was written by: