THE FRAIL DAYS – Orca Books 2015
Stella Wing just wants to rock when it seems everyone else wants to rap.
In a school full of posers, jocks and hip hop wannabes, 16 year old Stella has managed to recruit two tiny freshmen, guitarist Jacob and bassist Miles to join her quest for the real old school rock band experience. Though she’s a wicked drummer Stella’s wobbly soprano and the boys’ pre-pubescent voices hardly make for a killer sound. What Stella needs is a wild singer to round out their crew. When Miles discovers 15 year old Tamara Donnelly nailing the national anthem at a baseball game, Stella is not convinced. Tamara is sort of a nerd, kind of chubby and pretty conservative. But her raw chesty voice is all kinds of awesome. Though Stella wants to turn Tamara into a rock goddess in time for a gig at the summer music festival, Tamara proves tough to convince. Despite her awkward exterior, she’s a confident performer, and has her own ideas about music and what it means to be epic cool.
With the bewildered boys just trying to stay in tune, Stella and Tamara jam their way into the kind of friendship music legends are built on. Their band The Frail Days slowly starts building a local following, but when new conservative guidelines are introduced for the summer music festival, Stella and Tamara clash over whether to change their sound or remain true to Stella’s edgy alt rock vision. Now Stella has to convince not only Tamara, but also the summer festival organizers that a real live rock band is truly what the crowd will want.
Included on the list of Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s BEST BOOKS FOR KIDS AND TEENS for Fall 2015.
“An inspirational story…[that] tackles more than perseverance and ambition…[including] female competition, body image, and the pressure of gender expectations for young girls in society…The [Orca Limelights] stories are quick, bite-sized reads, but they pack a punch—the well-developed stories have relatable characters and entertaining plots. This book will appeal to a diverse audience of young female readers.” VOYA – April 1, 2015
“A pleasing choice for high/low readers with an interest in the music biz.” Booklist Online – February 25, 2015
“Prendergast displays excellent insight into what makes young artists tick in this short novella. Characterization is deftly done: Stella has an attractively rebellious edge to her personality, and Tamara’s character grows naturally in confidence. Punchy, insightful and great for music lovers.” Kirkus Reviews – February 15, 2015
“The dialogue is authentic, and the vocabulary is varied, interesting and appropriate for the intended audience. Characters are realistic, and the plot is believable. The theme of performing and finding a voice is well explored in this novel…The Frail Days would appeal to a variety of readers, including readers of music, relationships and realistic fiction…Highly Recommended.” CM Magazine – February 6, 2015
“While the themes are serious, the lively first person narrative by the iconoclastic Stella (piercings, fire-engine red hair, different fake tattoos every week) makes this a dynamic and funny novel.” Resource Links – February 1, 2015
“A timely read for kids looking at chasing dreams of their own.” Stephanie Q., LibraryThing Early Reviewer – January 23, 2015