Wendy Phillips' young adult novel won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature in 2010.

Wendy Phillips

Told through the poems and assignments of four high school students during their English class, Fishtailing is a story of bullying, teen violence and the struggle to fit in — no matter where you come from. Natalie, with alcoholic parents and a painful secret, befriends three other teens when she moves to a new school: Tricia, dealing with a blended family; Kyle, a budding musician who's in love with Tricia; and Miguel, who's hiding secrets about his own family. The stories of the four students converge at an unforgettable party... before they fishtail out of control. Fishtailing won the 2010 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature.

Fishtailing is for readers ages 15 and up.

From the book

In English

it's silent

writing time.

Dust motes dance

on the earphones of the quiet

guy tapping his fingers

shine a halo

around the dark hair

clenched jaw

of the guy behind him.

He looks back.

His eyelids


and open

close again

From Fishtailing by Wendy Phillips ©2010. Published by Coteau Books.