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Allegra hopes that being at a performing-arts high school will change her life and make her a better dancer. But high school is still high school, complete with cliques, competition and cruelty. And home isn’t much better. Forced to take a class in music theory, Allegra takes refuge in writing music with her young teacher who nurtures and appreciates her talent. But when her feelings for him become more intense and he seems to reciprocate, Allegra sets in motion a chain of events that could destroy everything and everyone she loves.

Orca Book Publishers 2013

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Awards and Nominations:

Nominated: Yalsa’s Best Fiction for Young Adults 2014 List

“You can’t hear the music, but you can feel it in this fresh, engrossing story.” Quill and Quire

“Hrdlitschka is known for having her pulse on hot-button issues for teens, and her latest novel, which exams a teacher-student attraction, is no exception. Hrdlitschka does an excellent job of illustrating the subtle, gradual and easily understandable shift in their relationship.” Canadian Children’s Book News

Hrdlitschka allows Allegra to tell her own story, and her fine ear for teen emotion is well displayed in scenes that reveal Allegra’s social anxiety and panic attacks, her sorrow and disbelief over her parents’ crumbling marriage, and her resistance to unfamiliar feelings of love as handsome, young Mr. Rocchelli begins to fill the emptiness in her life….Teens with a passion for the arts will see themselves in Allegra, whose intensity and flaws make her perfectly relatable.”

“The musical creations  – whether through a rock-band jam session, playing a classical harp, or composing with a digital program – are described with loving detail but a light touch, appealing to both veteran musicians and neophytes, who will relish this opportunity to better appreciate the power of music. Allegra’s artistic pursuits – and intense commitment – will resonate particularly with equally passionate teens, while her social anxiety and strained home life might be familiar, albeit painfully so, to a broader audience.” School Library Journal

“As with all the other characters you have created, I thought you really captured the feelings, struggles, thoughts and actions of the adolescent girl. I could feel her gradual experience of her new sexual feelings…You really know how to portray anxiety and depression and the devastating effects they can have. Another great contribution to teen literature and for adults too!”  Dr. Nonie Lyon

“In her absorbing exploration of contemporary teen life…   Hrdlitschka realistically depicts teenage emotional turmoil as Allegra’s growing obsession with Mr. Rocchelli combines with despair at her parents’ separation and the ups and downs of her new friendships.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Shelley Hrdlitschka could have made Mr. Rocchelli the “bad guy” by having
him lead Allegra on but she charitably creates no good guys and bad guys, just
characters who are human, trying to do the best they can.  Their way of doing
things, including their reactions and interpretations, may be right or they may
be wrong, but they don’t seem to have any hidden agendas.  Allegra herself
recognizes that she “should” be lively, or that she would at least benefit from
being more extroverted, but it’s not always possible to be what others want of
us, no matter how beneficial.  But, like her parents, her friends, Mr. Rocchelli
and others, Allegra takes what she’s been given and works with it.  Sometimes
it’s flat but sometimes it’s a superb orchestral piece with layers of harmonies
and melodies that inspire and elevate.”  see entire review here


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