Just dropping in to make my introduction as the new co-moderator of this blog. My name is Avery St.Pierre and I am Gabrielle Prendergast’s intern! I’m a high-school student who has a tendency to get up to lots of writing shenanigans between the endless projects provided by the education system. I love everything YA and contemporary – dark and edgy to light and funny – though, I do love the occasional dystopia. I’m currently querying my own transgressive YA, THE PIECES OF US (which is, regrettably, not in verse).
My appreciation of verse novels started with (of course) Ellen Hopkins, but has branched into me trying out a whole lot of new novels and I’m always looking out for suggestions. I’m thrilled to be the new contributor to Versenovels.com and I can’t wait to share my love of verse novels with you through my weekly posts.
To start off, I have a (well deserved) 5 star review of Gabrielle’s own AUDACIOUS.
All the best,
(Feel free to ask me any questions or ask me to review a verse novel of yours at @Avery_StPierre on Twitter)
AUDACIOUS by Gabrielle Prendergast
Pushing the boundaries of YA contemporary, Audacious by Gabrielle Prendergast deals with mature themes and treats its readers like young adults, instead of old children. This novel was so rich in thematic material that I don’t know where to begin: a forbidden love story, a court case, an eating disorder and just plain coming of age. I think, that in all its chaotic issues and hurdles, Audacious paints (or is that photographs?) an accurate picture of growing up and finding yourself, even in the strangest places.
Written in flowing verse, Prendergast’s book was a really quick read for me, and I found I couldn’t put it down. The narrative was quick and I found myself on the last page, wishing for more mere hours after I’d picked it up. There’s something about the way that Ella knows exactly how much information is needed in her poems and how much she’s able to leave out that compelled me to find out what came next. Working with so much plot, Prendergast did a good job of fairly addressing all the aspects of this novel without dealing out too many gory details. I think if anything, the reader never gets a reflection on exactly how boy-crazy Ella is, but I think, from the summary, that that will be talked about in book two.
All the characters in this story felt believable, they all contained a bit of me and my friends and, while they worked on stereotypes, they didn’t come off as offensive in the slightest. Ella was an incredibly strong and relatable female protagonist. Fiercely driven and courageous while also being deeply flawed, Ella is one of those illusive heroines in YA who kick butt without literally kicking butt. She was fearful, she was emotional and above all, she was compassionate. I see a lot of myself in Ella, especially in the way that I always try to start fresh, but end up right back at square one (though maybe not so dramatically). I think she’s a spirited girly that we’ll all be able to find in ourselves.
All in all, this book was incredibly well executed and dealt with its harsh thematic material in an innocent and almost lighthearted way, keeping with the spirit and zest of its flawed narrator. I give it five stars for its easy flow, entertaining plot, swoon-worthy romance (and romantic interest) and beautifully written verse. I would recommend this book to anyone who is, has been, dreams of being, will have, or has to deal with, a quirky teenage girl, because I know you’ll fall in love with Ella and her story the same way I did.