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  • An African Alphabet
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By author: Gabrielle Prendergast
Selling Points: "sex, fidelity, family, trust, friendship"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2014
Pages: 352
Fiction Ages 12+
Price:  $19.95
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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.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books - February 16, 2017
"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."
Booklist - February 1, 2017
"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."
School Library Journal - April 1, 2014
"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."
Resource Links - April 1, 2014
"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."
Kirkus Reviews - March 1, 2014
"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."
On Page 394 blog - March 1, 2014
"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. "
CM Magazine - January 17, 2014
"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."


CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2014
Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize finalist, short-listed  CA  2015

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