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FOUR SEASONS by Jane Breskin Zalben

FOUR SEASONS

By Jane Breskin Zalben

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-375-86222-9
Publisher: Knopf

Approaching her 13th birthday, seventh grader Allegra Katz begins to wonder if she really wants to spend her life playing the piano. How can she tell what she really wants, and how can she disappoint her parents and her teacher? From an unsure spring to a disastrous summer music camp and a breakdown in the fall through gradual recovery during the winter, Zalben charts a year in the life of a musically and mathematically precocious New Yorker in four chapters, each opening with an appropriate quotation from a Vivaldi sonnet. A fascinating and complex character, Ally puts demands on herself nearly as impossible as those of her unforgiving teacher. She lives in a world full of people under pressure: Her parents are professional musicians, everyone in her private school is “gifted” and, at Juilliard, she sees students much younger with burgeoning professional careers. Only her best friend Opal and first boyfriend Bradley model alternate paths. A surfeit of descriptive detail provides some relief from Ally’s intensity and may well attract readers curious about her cosmopolitan world. (Fiction. 10-14)