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Pedro de Alcantara is a Brazilian citizen living in Paris. This is his first novel.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-7–Life really stinks for 13-year-old Becky Cohen. Shes not even close to being pretty, has no friends except her brilliant 12-year-old brother, and her overworked, widowed mother constantly finds fault with her. She desperately misses her father. The family has no money for private violin lessons, so Becky is forced to suffer through group classes at the Y with odious, hypercritical Mrs. Stark. Although she willingly practices for hours every day, the girl doesnt begin to improve until she meets mysterious Mr. Freeman, who teaches her to relax and actually love playing music. With his coaching, Becky pushes herself out of her comfort zone and dares to play with her heart instead of by rote, which pays off with wonderful results. Brazilian native, professional musician de Alcantara soars when describing Beckys musical development, but other characters seem more stock. Readers will empathize with the protagonists struggles and will cheer with great satisfaction as she stretches to reach her potential.–Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
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