Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12 to 18
Ella’s grade-eleven year was a disaster (Audacious), but as summer approaches, things are looking up. She’s back together with her brooding boyfriend, Samir, although they both want to keep that a secret. She’s also best buddies with David and still not entirely sure about making him boyfriend number two. Though part of her wants to conform to high school norms, the temptation to be radical is just too great. Managing two secret boyfriends proves harder than Ella expected, especially when Samir and David face separate family crises, and Ella finds herself at the center of an emotional maelstrom. Someone will get hurt. Someone risks losing true love. Someone might finally learn that self-serving actions can have public consequences. And that someone is Ella.
About the author
Gabrielle Prendergast is a UK-born Canadian/Australian who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and daughter. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Gabrielle is the author of the verse novels Capricious and Audacious, which was shortlisted for a CLA Award, and The Frail Days in the Orca Limelights and the middle-grade novel Pandas on the Eastside. For More information, visit www.angelhorn.com.
- Short-listed, Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize finalist
- Commended, CCBC Best Books
"Prendergast’s unrhymed verse not only tells the tale, but varies form and line length, the clipped rhythms capturing Ella’s emotional turmoil...Sensitive and compelling."
"A young adult coming-of-age novel [that] covers a variety of other themes, including homosexuality, drug use, sex, religious prejudice, mental illness, bulimia and bullying. Prendergast is able to allude to these social problems with a sincere and honest voice. She does not drag the novel into some sort of moral sermonizing, nor does she trivialize the issues which Ella and other characters must confront....Prendergast is able to portray complete characters, an intricate plot and a variety of settings with a minimum of words. This has the advantage of allowing readers to use their imaginations to fill in the blanks with details surmised from the poetry...Highly Recommended."
"Ella's responses are generally thoughtful and consistently authentic. I like that Ella stands firm in her individuality and owns both her vulnerability and her nonconformity...Capricious could make an excellent independent study text for any high school reader who enjoys poetry, and it should be very popular in the teen section of public libraries."
"The poetry is accessible and refreshingly varied, capturing the many moods of Ella as well as the voice of Marika...and the secondary characters are well drawn enough to be participants in Ella's life rather than mere props. Readers who enjoy this will want to pick up the first one as well."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A quick read, thanks to the format and the dramatic plot. Prendergast varies the style of the narrative, seamlessly integrating rhymed couplets, acrostics, and more...Her candid approach to sex, lies, and friendship should attract a wide audience, especially readers who are drawn to deep and sometimes dark issues."
School Library Journal
"Ella is certainly audacious, capricious, and ultimately resilient as she maturely handles her delicate situation with both boys and reclaims her identity. Prendergast's compilation of various verse styles makes Ella's story approachable and poignant."
"An unexpectedly addictive read...Bitterly real, Ella's bad choices and low self-esteem haunt her as she spirals through life, apparently unable to resist any chance at happiness, regardless of the cost to herself, her image, and to the people she loves...Capricious could be studied in high school as an example of how poetry is so much MORE than rhyming words and difficult interpretations...Prendergast is extraordinary. "
On Page 394 blog