Audacious & Capricious

AUDACIOUS – Orca Books Fall 2013

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Sixteen year old Raphaelle is that girl who says the wrong thing, who crosses the wrong person, who has the wrong hair, the wrong body, the wrong attitude, the totally wrong clothes. 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 leave behind the misfit rebel, the outcast, the vengeful trouble-maker she was. Reborn as “Ella,” she plans fit in at her new school, while her perfect younger sister goes to the Catholic girls’ school and her emotionally fragile mother looks for a job.

But Ella might just be a different kind of misfit. She’s drawn to a brooding boy in her art class, Samir, and expresses her confused feelings in an explicit artwork. When a classmate texts a photo of Ella’s art to a younger friend, the horrendous fallout spreads though Ella’s life like an uncontrollable disease. Ella is expelled from school and faces pornography charges, her mother is hospitalized, her sister fails all her classes, and her distant father finally notices something is wrong.

Awards and Honors:

2014  CCBC Best Books
2014  Westchester Fiction Award Winners list
2013  CLA YA Book Award nominee
2013  Resource Links “The Year’s Best”
2014 White Pine Award nominee
2015 CBC 100 YA Books That Make You Proud to be Canadian


“In Audacious, Prendergast asks concrete questions about faith, art, and politics that are sometimes avoided in YA. Her gamble pays off. In Ella, Prendergast has created a voice that is definitely audacious – but also utterly real and memorable.” Quill & Quire (starred review) 

Fans of Ellen Hopkins and Sonya Sones’s novels in verse will delight in Prendergast’s rich, riveting story…Prendergast demonstrates a powerful understanding of the adolescent search for identity, and her writing uses the verse format to great effect, with an honest teenage voice, a willingness to play with poetic form, and an intensity that arises through the condensed language.Publishers Weekly

AUDACIOUS is a book just as powerful as its title. This skillful novel in verse follows a grieving high school girl’s struggle to defy tradition, censorship, and intolerance. AUDACIOUS is loaded with taut emotions and complex controversies. Beautifully written, thoughtfully layered, and occasionally disturbing, AUDACIOUS asks important questions that will grip a teen reader’s attention, with poems as varied, lovely, and shocking, as the ups and downs of the heroine’s quest for understanding.” Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree

“The character of Raphaelle is no angel, but an audacious teen determined to prove there are no limits when it comes to freedom and truth. Hang on for the ride. Prendergast’s story is wild and wonderful.” Cathy Ostlere, GG nominated author of KARMA

“…a stunning young adult novel which shows the coming-of-age process of a strong and independent young woman who wants to express herself through her art. The author manages to create fully formed characters, interesting dialogue and a series of events which tell a complete story while using a minimum of words. Prendergast says enough that readers have a clear sense of plot, setting and characters, and yet readers are able to fill in any blanks with their own imagination – a perfect combination! Audacious is a strong, occasionally disturbing young adult novel which mirrors accurately the main character who, in her effort to learn more about herself, lives up to the book’s title. The forthcoming sequel, Capricious, promises to unfold more of Ella’s story, and I am eager to see what happens next to this feisty heroine!” CM Magazine

“Prendergast, who hails from Vancouver, B.C., pulls out all the stops in this action-packed coming-of-age tale fraught with familial and societal dysfunction. (The book) offers great insight into teen psychology—especially that of the outcast—and boldly probes sensitive topics like religious prejudice, sex, censorship and eating disorders.” Kirkus Review of Books

I loved every second of the book.” Peace Love Books

“Audacious is a well-written and much-needed addition to the literature around families where a parent has an eating disorder.” Laura’s Adventures in Literature

“I would absolutely recommend Audacious” Novel Reveries

“Something I’m really impressed with about this book is how the author doesn’t hold back. This book talks about topics like religion and sexuality – topics that I know some authors are afraid of approaching because of the sensitivity. I never got a hint of sensitivity from this novel, which I appreciate. . .This may be the first book I’ve read that talk about religion in such a blunt way and since I believe in all religions, I was just so fascinated by what I was reading.” A review from the target audience, a teen reader.

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CAPRICIOUS – Orca Books Fall 2014

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Capricious is the sequel to Audacious

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.

Awards and honors:

CCBC Best Books  CA  2014
Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize finalist  CA  2015
Poem chosen for 2014 Poetry in Transit, Vancouver.


4/4 stars from CM Magazine

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.

“Sensitive and compelling.” Kirkus Reviews

“Capricious was an unexpectedly addictive read… full of raw emotion. 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.”  On Page 394

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 – 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.” Resource Links – April 1, 2014

“I really liked Capricious… I did like watching her slowly realize that she’s not only hurting herself with her actions, but those around her. Samir also continued to intrigue me, since he’s quite a hypocrite when it comes to his faith, so it was no wonder Ella wanted David, too. Now that Ella has made it through her junior year, I do have to wonder what being a senior will bring for her!” Pinkindle

Capricious captivated me with it’s brilliant verse. I hadn’t read many books in this style before this, and those that I had tended to be fantasy and medieval fiction. I was really impressed by its use in this book, and the way it fit into the narrator’s modern life. It managed to give just glimpses into Ella’s life, while keeping the intimacy created with a first person point of view novel.” WordFest Blog