Saturday, 1 March 2014

Review: Capricious by Gabrielle Prendergast

Capricious is a YA novel for readers aged 12 & up, to be released in April 2014 by Orca Book Publishers. I received an ARC of Capricious via LibraryThing last month, and after reading this novel, I'm even more thrilled that I was chosen to review the book!

Summary: 1 girl + 2 boys = 3 broken hearts.
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. 

Capricious was an unexpectedly addictive read. The narrative is told in verse, and is divided into different poems (or chapters), but it reads like a regular novel. 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. Ella's redeeming quality is that she has a desperate wish to do better; something we can all relate to. Her story is full of raw emotion and will strongly resonate with high school students. We have ALL felt the despair and shame that comes naturally to impulsive teenagers, to being in love, and of our bewildering bad choices at this age. 

Bullying, sex, love, weed, virtue, religion, identity, and mental illness all have a place in Capricious. It's essentially all of life's bullshit wrapped up in a beautiful story, told in verse. Capricious could be studied in high school as an example of how poetry is so much MORE than rhyming words and difficult interpretations. Much like poets such as William Carlos Williams, Capricious uses the arrangement of lines and words to convey as much emotion and meaning, if not more, than what the actual words give the reader.

This is by far, one of the BEST Canadian novels I've read in a very long time. Prendergast is extraordinary. I sincerely hope Capricious gets the recognition it deserves.

4 Stars

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