Audacious by Gabrielle Prendergast
Orca Book Publishers, October 2013
You know me, dear blog readers. I can’t ever say no to verse novels. I love them. I adore them. I can’t get enough of them. Any genre. Any target audience. I don’t care. I love the sparseness of poetry; the way that story has to be pared down to its most primal form where imagery is paramount. The last verse novel I read, while enjoyable, wasn’t technically great poetry. It felt more like chopped lines on a page than poetry in places. Thankfully, Audacious by Gabrielle Prendergast, is not of this variety of verse novel. Instead, it is a teen verse novel which manages to be funny, romantic, thoughtful and…well… a little audacious.
From the blurb:
Self-portrait of the artist as a teenage girl.
Sixteen-year-old Raphaelle says the wrong thing, antagonizes the wrong people and has the wrong attitude. She can’t do anything right except draw, but she draws the wrong pictures. When her father moves the family to a small prairie city, Raphaelle wants to make a new start. Reborn as “Ella,” she tries to fit in at her new school. She’s drawn to Samir, a Muslim boy in her art class, and expresses her confused feelings in explicit art. When a classmate texts a photo of Ella’s art to a younger friend, the fallout spreads throughout Ella’s life, threatening to destroy her already-fragile family. Told entirely in verse, Audacious is a brave, funny and hard-hitting portrait of a girl who embodies the word audacity.
A quick read, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a simple tale. Prendergast deals with teenage sexuality and romance, the nature of freedom of speech and art, disability and the way people in our society judge people, conflicts of religion and belief, eating disorders and dysfunctional families. Using a range of poetic structures- acrostic, free verse, haiku and rhyme, the technique is strong and adds to the power of Ella’s voice.
The best part of all? There is a sequel. Capricious. Coming soon!
Audacious: 4/5 inky stars
This ebook was provided for review by the author.