Author: Gabrielle Prendergast
# of Pages: 288
Publication Date: October 1st 2013
Source: ARC provided by author in exchange for honest review
Rating: 2.5 Hearts
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.
I don’t know if you guys remember or if you followed my blog back then, but I actually interviewed author, Gabrielle Prendergast last year as part of my Novels In Verse Reading Challenge (which can be read here). Point being, I have been waiting for this book to come out for a long time! I’m so grateful to Gabrielle for providing me with an ARC for review purposes.
Being an artist myself, I thought it would be easy for me to connect with and understand Ella. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. I just couldn’t see where she was coming from at all. Including a naked picture of herself in a school art show and frankly, not caring what happened in response. The thing is, it seemed like this wasn’t the first time Ella had done something like that. I got the impression that her artwork had caused problems before. I feel like she just wanted the attention, whether good or bad and didn’t really think of how her decisions affected others.
Her love interest, Samir, is also an artist but again, I just wasn’t able to connect with him either. For a main character, he felt really distant to me throughout the whole book.Religion is also a large topic in this story. Ella’s family is Catholic, while Samir’s family is Muslim. Both characters are struggling with their faith, what they believe, who they believe in, or if they even believe anything at all. Personally, I didn’t like the way religion was portrayed as this burden that both characters were trying to escape from. However, I respected the fact that the author didn’t shy away from religion like most YA books do.
While this book wasn’t a good match for me, I do think a lot of others will enjoy it. Especially fans of Ellen Hopkins and other books with heavier, more controversial subject matter.