Ellie in First Position: A Graphic Novel

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Pub Date 03 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2023

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Ellie has just moved to a new town with her mother and brother, and she's eager to make friends. Unfortunately, everyone at school is into sports, sports, sports. Her mother insists that Ellie take up a sport, too, if she ever wants to fit in. But no matter what she tries--volleyball, tennis, even archery--she makes an utter fool of herself. Then a night at the ballet and a new boy at school help Ellie discover her true calling: she's destined to dance! But her mom has other plans. Will Ellie ever find a way to follow her dream?


Ellie has just moved to a new town with her mother and brother, and she's eager to make friends. Unfortunately, everyone at school is into sports, sports...

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EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781958325001
PRICE $13.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 10 members

Featured Reviews

Ellie in First Position is a graphic novel by Brian Freschi and illustrated by Elena Triolo. The titular character is a young girl who is having trouble fitting in after her family moves to a new town. Always awkward, Electra wonders how she will ever be accepted by her peers, who seem to value sports above all else. A night at the ballet and a new boy at school will turn things around, however, as Ellie discovers and embraces a newfound love for dance. Will she have the courage to follow her new passion and make some new friends along the way?

Ellie is such a relatable character, and her struggles will certainly resonate with young readers. I appreciate that this story is presented as a graphic novel, as it is sure to reach a potentially wider audience of fledgling bookworms.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Marble Press for an ARC.

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This graphic novel is so endearing. First, I want first to point out that I love the art, it's perfect for the story, not only the characters' design but the usage of color in a very clever way. 

There's a great balance between emotional scenes and humor, and the main character is not perfect: I love to see Ellie making mistakes only to redeem herself (and sometimes making the world better only with a little doodle). 

Ellie just moved to a new town and school where they only care about sports and she tries hard to belong and to find her place among it all, but she discovered that dancing is what makes her alive. In this story it is not only the children who make mistakes, I like when we get a glimpse of the adults' struggles too. I love the design of the pages and how the author and the illustrator complement humor in a panel with amazing characters (and small extras like that pigeon ahaha).

The cover is very simple and sweet, and the interior makes us smile with each page. There will be many readers who relate to Ellie, and older readers who will too (some will look back with nostalgia to those ballet lessons - that continued or not).

p.s- It's a great graphic novel to learn from for those who want to one day create their own and learn from this example of a good rhythm of storytelling and panel building. Praizes to the author and illustrator that found creative ways to show the passage of time/seasons. I will definitely be on the lookout for this author and illustrator to collect future projects.

Explores themes such as: moving to a new place with her Mom, dealing with parents who just got divorced, attending a new school, bullying, standing up for the things that are important, friendship, sports, ballet, innocent crush, humor, sailing through social relationships, learning to apologize, working hard for dreams.

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Electra aka Ellie moves to a new town with her mom and brother after her parents get divorced. Ellie has trouble relating to her classmates. Her friends like to play sports while Ellie likes to read. Ellie's mom encourages her to try sports. Unfortunately she doesn't do well at playing sports. One of Ellie's friends dances ballet and starts to teach the group. Electra really enjoys dancing but her mom makes it clear that dancing is stupid and unworthy of her attention. I liked this book, its cute and the graphics are nice. Read to find out if Electra ever gets to 🩰.

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The struggle to find ones place in the world is very real, and Ellie’s story exemplifies how hard coming-of-age can be. This graphic novel tackles many topics kids these days face: finding balance amid divorce, finding their voices, navigating new opportunities, finding their passions, handling bullying. A great read for girls and boys,

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Written by Brian Freschi (and translated by Nanette McGuinness), Ellie in First Position is a graphic novel about a young girl learning to find her place in the world.

After the divorce of her parents, Electra moves to a new home with her mother and brother. Adjusting to the recent changes, Ellie’s life is further complicated when a classmate persists with taunts and bullies. Thankfully, Electra’s friends, crush, and father continually support Ellie and inspire her to do what she loves: Dance.

Based on the childhood of the illustrator, Elena Triolo’s stylized graphics take center stage and breathe life to an otherwise repetitious tale. While providing appropriate conflict for a slice-of-life middle-grade novel, the continued disregard for her daughter’s talents and dreams casts Ellie’s mother as the primary antagonist and effectively compels the reader to seek her change of heart.

As is often the nature of translated works, not all of the jokes transfer the cultural divide. Still, emotionally intelligent children will have no problem understanding the nature between rivals or family conflicts.

With half the characters being as endearing as the others are unlikeable, this novel falls just above average both for myself and my child (age 9 - decided to opt out the third time Ellie’s mother pushed away her child’s dreams in favor of holding a grudge against her ex). Despite its redundancy, the story presents an opportunity for children to discuss the effects of a split-family, their dreams, moments they’ve encountered obstacles to their goals, and finding their place in the world.

Thank you to NetGalley and Marble Press for a copy of this book an exchange for my honest review.

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After her parents get divorced, Ellie and her brother move to a new city with their mother. Starting a new school is a challenge, especially when everyone at her new school seems to be involved with playing a sport, something that really doesn’t interest Ellie. Her mom pushes her to try a variety of sports, but nothing is a good fit for Ellie—until she discovers dance. Unfortunately, her mother is opposed to Ellie participating in dance. Will Ellie be able to change her mom’s mind and pursue what she loves? Readers will relate to the middle school struggles with friendship, parents, and belonging that are addressed in this graphic novel. The graphic novel’s sweet illustrations add to the charm of Ellie’s story. Even when she doesn’t make the best choices, readers will find themselves cheering for Ellie as she works to find her place and what matters to her.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC for me to read and review.

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A wonderful use of the comics medium with a creative collaboration between two voices. Enjoyable art and storytelling.

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An adorable little upper-elementary/middle grade novel about the difficultly in following the plan your parents have for you versus finding your own way.

Ellie is good at drawing...and that's about it. So when her mother insists she participate in a sport, Ellie finds herself in a series of miserable practices. She gains a few friends (and a few bullies) along the way, but she also discovers her real passion. DANCE.

Unfortunately her mother shoots down the idea every time Ellie tries to bring it up...which leads to secrets, lies, and an eventual confrontation.

Sweet and full of heart.

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A clear enough plot in this one, easy to follow. We can understand the motivation as well. We see both the mother's prejudice and the cultural expectation. Even more, though, this is a book about a character unable to communicate her wants and needs. It's ultimately more funny than serious and the facial expressions are quite exaggerated.

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Beautifully illustrated, wonderfully and creatively written. Ellie is a character many kids can relate to and as we follow her through her journey to fit in and make friends we come to love her and her tenacity.

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