Alpha Dog by Jennifer Ziegler

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  321 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Katie has a history of terrible birthdays and her 17th is no exception when her boyfriend dumps her the day before she is supposed to leave for a summer college program.  He has also been cheating on her with one of her good friends and all the rest of her friends side with the friend (who is more popular than her) in the breakup and won’t talk to Katie anymore.  Katie also has an overbearing mother who constantly reminds her of how special and accomplished she was at her age. 

When Katie reaches her summer apartment she is ready to try something new and get away from her life, but her roomate constantly has her boyfriend and his friends over who eat her food and bother her.  On a spur of the moment decision, Katie adopts a dog from the rescue league and immediately has trouble with little Seamus.  He quickly terrorizes her rooomate, the neighborhood kids, and even her landlady.  In dog training classes she learns she must become the alpha dog in order for Seamus to obey her.  Katie realizes this is true for the rest of her life as well.  She does what she is supposed to do and what everyone around her tells her to do and she needs to step up and become the alpha dog in her own life.

Alpha Dog is  a heartwarming story about a girl who comes to truly love her adopted dog.  Seamus also helps her grow up and take responsibility for her life and those around her.  Once she stands up for what she wants others respect her in a new way and she forms much longer lasting friendships and relationships than she had before.  Seamus is a little bit of a handful at first and exasperating to read about at times, but anyone who has ever had a new dog knows this can be true!  The shallowness in which her friends drop her for their more popular friend and then pick her up again when they learn she knows a famous band seems unbelievable, but I think some high school students can be that shallow.  Anyone who loves dogs or has ever had a time in their life when nothing has turned out quite right and they had to make some big changes will enjoy this book. 

 

 

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