Monday, September 29, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Allegra Biscotti Collection

Even though you might not be able to tell from the way I dress, I enjoy reading about fashion and watching fashion-related TV shows. So I couldn't resist picking up this unique middle grade novel about a young fashion designer. 

Description from Amazon:

Emma Rose is SO not a diva.
She doesn't want her turn on the catwalk-she'd rather be behind the scenes creating fabulous outfits! So when a famous fashionista discovers Emma's designs and offers her the opportunity of a lifetime-a feature in Madison magazine (squeal!)-Emma sort of, well, panics. She has only one option: to create a secret identity.
And so Allegra Biscotti is born.
Allegra is worldly, sophisticated, and bold-everything Emma is not. But the pressure is on. And Emma quickly discovers juggling school, a new crush, friends, and a secret identity might not be as glamorous as she thought.

The Allegra Biscotti Collection by Olivia Bennett, Source Books, 2010

My Take:

It was fun to be in on Emma’s secret identity as Allegra Biscotti. I was intrigued by the problem of how she’d keep up her secret identify and finish designing her collection, while at the same time continuing to act like an ordinary middle school student with typical school issues— keeping friends, crushing on boys, and who to sit with at lunch. I really liked the sketches of Emma’s designs that were sprinkled throughout the story. This was definitely a fun read for anyone interested in fashion!

When I put on my writer’s hat, I noticed how the author used details to show the world from Emma’s perspective, describing the details of their outfits and accessories, the feeling of fabric, her thrill at sewing a new design. At one point, it was interesting that the author “broke the rules” of writing middle grade by having an adult step in to help her with a tricky sewing issue, but if anything, I thought it helped to make the story more realistic.

Opening Line:

“Definitely the faux-fur scarf. But not in teal…maybe an eggplant with silver flecks would work.”


“If your clothes didn’t fit in, neither did you.”

“When Emma finally hung a finished piece on the rolling rack against the back wall, it was no longer simply an item of clothing. It was the beginning of a story that would unfold when someone put it on for the very first time.”

“Maybe we just have to figure out how to be friends, I don’t know, differently than we did before.”

Other Books in This Series:

Who, What, Wear: The Allegra Biscotti Collection (#2)
Bead-Dazzled: The Allegra Biscotti Collection (#3)

Looking for more great middle grade reads? Visit Shannon Messenger's website for a list of bloggers and their picks for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! 


  1. Sounds like an awesome book for you since you like fashion. And I bet it would appeal to lots of MG girls. Thanks for sharin it.

  2. Allergra B. is such a cool name! I love character names and this one holds tons of interest for many reasons. Emma sounds like a character lots of young girls can relate to. Thanks for sharing this one!

  3. Sounds like this book would appeal to a lot of girls. I enjoyed the quotes. Thanks for the review.

  4. I have a fashion loving niece who would love this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention as I don't normally go searching for this type of story.

  5. My little granddaughter is a fashionista and often designs clothes. I'll have to get this for her. Thanks for the review.

  6. This sounds like a fun read! I love books about a kid who's trying to follow their dreams in a grown-up way. This made me think of THE SCHOOL STORY (Clements), a book I really enjoyed.

  7. I'm reading the second book now, and it's just as much fun as the first one!


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