Wednesday, August 13, 2014

{Book Review} Audacious #1: Gabrielle Prendergast


Rating: 9/10
Series: Audacious #1
Genre: Poetry, Verse, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: Orca
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Page Count: 327
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.


Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Anyone in the mood for gritty, teen fiction 
A book that does not skim lightly over the "hard stuff" 
Something that is brutally, sometimes painfully honest 
Beautiful, thought-provoking writing style
Fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, and David Levithan


What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Why the hell would Audacious end like that?

Background & Backstory


I haven't heard about this book too much throughout the Blogosphere. The only reason I picked it up at all was because of Jayne @ Fiction_The New Reality's and remembered that she loved it. It was on my library's featured shelves, and I wasn't even sure it was the correct book, but I opened it, saw the verse, and immediately put it in the pile of books I was going to check out. What I will say is that you have to be in the mood to read Audacious, as it was a dark novel, and not for the faint of heart. Also, if you're in the mood for some gorgeous writing that will make you think. Because of the writing, this review will be a quote review, and frankly, I am wondering how I didn't tab every single page in this novel.

Quote Review


"I feel like a shirt
That's been washed too many times.
Faded and worn.
I've run my entire love-life cycle
Beginning, middle and end
Wash, risne and dry
In one 24 hour period." 
---P170


The best way to describe Audacious is.... Audacious. It's the kind of book which deals with a mature subject matter and doesn't blur any lines. There isn't a single line that speaks lies. If Audacious was known on a more national level, I am 100% certain that it would be added to the ever-growing list of banned books in schools. Now I'm certain that there have been books written about censorship and making mistakes by spreading images/information via social media. Yet, I'm sure that those books don't take the approach that Audacious does. While other books may be seen as cautionary tales, or as 
judgements made from people observing the situation. Audacious was real, raw, and intentional. 

"I recognize the desperation
The careful measuring of every word and move
The calculation
Can I afford to slip today?
Where am I on the populometer?
.... A liability with my mismatched shoes.
.... Me, they know, they can't afford" 
--- P45.


I know not many people have heard of the book I am about to mention, but I sincerely think more people should, and that book is Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose. This book was similar in terms of voice, risky decisions the protagonists make, and the quality of content. Instead of trying to explain myself (again) when it comes to the brutal authenticity of events, all you have to do is read the review. 

"Faith is lost
Morals are challenged
I long to curse, and paint nudity
And reveal lies and weakness
And stupidity.
I long to draw the eyes of other
To themselves
And their failings
And away from me
And mine" 
--- P32.


The difference between Raphaelle and almost every other main character of these types of stories (where everything goes to hell) is that what Raphaelle did was deliberate. Call it risky, call it genius.... call it stupidity, whatever label you stick on it, the fact remains that Raphaelle acted with a purpose and she knew what trouble she could/would get into because of it. Even though I thought Raphaelle made -what I would consider- a bad decision, I 100% see where she was coming from and think, if I was in her situation, that I would have made the same decision. 

"Real art requires risk, she says
And a certain willingness
To be exposed
And vulnerable
Not to scrutiny but to criticism
And even condemnation....
Well done"
---P163.


It is no secret (IRL or online) that I hate Common Core with a fiery passion. It is also no secret that Raphaelle despises conforming to the norm, fake or jaded people, and the general group mentality that tends to show up in High School in general. Now, I'm not saying that I would do something as drastic as Raphaelle to show how much I disagree with Common Core, but I know that I have the same level of intense feelings as her and might, if provoked, do something as risky. So even though everything has gone to hell by the time the quote is said, I know that Raphaelle (as well as myself) feels so liberated and ecstatic that at least one person saw my intentions as they were and applauded them.

"The sun peaks up slowly
Rays bisect the dusty sky
Long thin strips of cloud, like stretched out ribbons
Illuminated by fire
Drift away, their night-time condensation dissipated" 
--- P21. 

"Snowflakes
Falling so softly,
like thieves in the frozen night.
They steal the city." 
--- P61.

"Empty space
It says more about you
And what you intended to say
Than even the artwork itself
Everyone knows what should be there
My piece is up in the library
And that insipid watercolor
And in between we left a large 
Empty space
---P230.


If you haven't noticed, the number one reason Audacious received a 5 star rating from me is because of the quote-worthy quotes. I mean, this is a Quote Review for heaven's sakes. The three quotes above are the most powerful ones in the entire novel, and they deserve to be painted on walls and have Etsy boards created with the.  

"God
Where were you when Gabriel died?
Where were you when they bulldozed Samir's home
Or when his cousins died?
When buses blow up
When bridges  collapse
When little children starve
or drown 
Get shot
Or raped
Do you watch
or look away?" 
---P246.


Prendergrast also brings up the concepts of faith, god, and destiny a lot, especially with this quote. While Raphaelle puts a somewhat negative spin on them, as a reader, you also know that this is why some people don't have faith in a god. Because, if God is responsible for everything that happens, why does he let death, sorrow, and suffering happen? And if these horrible events happen in order to teach humanity a lesson, why is it that those particular people are the ones chosen to suffer?


"Quaint, the idea that love is
Unquestionable undefeatable
Endless fathomless
Strong as time and
Tenacious as space but
If love is never to be tested
Or challenged then it is worth
Nothing." 
---P320.


I gotta say, I didn't particularly like the characters of Audacious. Raphaelle was so indecisive when it came to the poor excuse for a "love triangle" that was also a case of insta-love as well as lust. She was so desperate at times that it was pathetic and her negativity kind of brought my mood down a little when she said certain things [see quote above & below]. Don't get me wrong, I love a different, eye-opening perspective, but Raphaelle said some things that I kind of took personally and was offended I know you're thinking I have lost my mind for being offended by what a book character said, but it's true.

"I'm like a flower
Whose petals are being plucked away
One by one
Or falling to the ground
Their purpose served" 
---P283.

Factors ~
My favorite kinds of books are the ones that have lasting effects on who I am, and this is one of them.
I did not give 
Audacious the full 10/10 stars because of the ending, and annoying love triangle.
How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel?


75% ~ While I loved the book, it would have been so much better if the last 30 pages were just chopped off. Maybe Prendergast felt the pressure to write a sequel, which is why she left a lot of loose threads. I for one, would have enjoyed seeing a companion novel about some of the minor characters, and would really enjoy reading from their perspective. Nevertheless, I will warily read the sequel. It is rare that a book as powerful as Audacious will have a sequel just as good, or even better. So I will go into it with my hopes not too high.


Would I Buy It?


Audacious is one of those books that I would buy even at the full $17.99 price. While reading the book, I placed over 18 slips of papers between pages so I could go back and relish in the beautiful writing. I would jump on purchasing it the minute I saw it in stores so I could have my own copy to annotate.



How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read?


My best bet is that I will re-read Audacious in a year or so when I'm in the mood, and I am sure once I own it (whenever that is) that I will go back and re-read certain sections and/or quotes that I found inspirational.

Conclusion: Audacious is a risk that Predergrast obviously took with a whole-hearted plunge into the deep end of literature. Just like what Steve Jobs said, "You can quote it [the book], disagree with it, glorify or vilify it, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things..." The only thing you can't do is ignore Audacious.

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