This verse novel follows a girl juggling two boyfriends and trying to cope with her rival at school.
Sixteen-year-old Ella loves two boys. She’s sleeping with Samir and cares for him, but she also loves David. She insists David is just her good friend but knows that underneath, it’s really a romance, and she may even prefer David to Samir. Meanwhile, she tries to avoid Genie, a girl at her high school who hates her because of her own crush on Samir. Things with Genie come to a head when circumstances force her to agree to participate in a bikini carwash. Samir strongly disapproves, but Ella shows up in a vintage 1950s two-piece bathing suit that allows her to attract more attention than anyone else while showing far less skin. To retaliate, Genie and her clique take Ella’s clothes, leaving her stranded in the bikini behind a gas station for hours into the night. Eventually Ella must come to terms with her relationships with both boys and with the girls. Prendergast’s unrhymed verse not only tells the tale, but varies form and line length, the clipped rhythms capturing Ella’s emotional turmoil. The story touches on different religions with nuance: Samir is a devout Muslim; David is a Jew; Ella and her family are Catholic; Ella’s sister is dating a Mormon.
Sensitive and compelling. (Verse fiction. 12-18)