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.
Another reason that I liked the book as much as I did was the narrator. Ella was a believable and rough narrator, and though she could be self centred at times (at least in terms of her focusing on her own problems) she addressed this, which was really nice to see. I’m all for flawed narrators, especially when they are aware of their own flaws and work to address them, in some way.
The romance between each character really worked, despite the fact that it threatened, at times, to stray into the dreaded indecision filled love triangle hurting those involved. I love the way the two boys fit into Ella’s life – filling the gaps that the other could not, creating what Ella called the perfect boyfriend. Both boys had romantic appeal, and both boys had their flaws. I liked that Ella addressed the issues with what Samir was saying (especially in terms of decency) because it was bothering me. David too, in some places, said some things that were reminiscent of “nice boy” things that get under my skin.
I believe the author set out to show, as she says in her blurb, that “self serving actions can have public consequences”, by exploring a misfit narrator that struggles through the consequences of her actions. In addition, she explores concepts like romance and intimacy, mental health and cruelty that people can live through at the hands of their “friends”.
Prendergast managed to achieve this, in my opinion, because her realistic narrator took us into the mind of a hurting teenage girl. I found her relatable, even when I did not agree with her actions or decisions, because I could relate to the emotions. Additionally, the goal was achieved because as a reader you managed to see a variety of reactions to her actions – from her parents and disapproving authority figures, to the students around her.
The book is aimed at young adult/new adult audiences, particularly those in grades ten to twelve. Some of the elements, like the sexual themes, Ella’s incriminating action itself and the language, do make the book appropriate for slightly more mature readers. For this reason, I think the audience could be extended to adults as well. The complexity of the format itself, with varied verse, would appeal to lovers of poetry and readers looking for something fresh.
Reviewed by: Aimee Ferguson