Title: Butterflies in May
Author: Karen Hart
Publication Year: 2006
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: E-review copy from NetGalley
From the cover:
When seventeen-year-old Ali Parker, on the verge of college, finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy, she faces some difficult decisions about her life, her future, and that of her unborn child. A coming-of-age story that enlightens without offending.
I mentioned on Twitter the other day that I seem to be in the middle of a slump of “meh” kind of books. I was hoping that this book would pull me out of it, since I normally really love realistic YA and particularly books about teen pregnancy, drug use, etc.
Unfortunately, Butterflies in May was not the end of my “reading slump”. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as great as I had been hoping for.
Ali, the main character, finds out that she is pregnant right at the beginning of the book. The only thing she can think of is that she and her boyfriend (Matt) had been careful every time except once, and even then they hadn’t been completely unsafe, and that she can’t believe she got pregnant. She takes forever to tell Matt, in part because she doesn’t think she’s pregnant at first, since she gets some period-like spotting. When she’s late for the second month in a row, though, she takes the test and finds out that she really is with child … but it takes her a couple weeks to tell Matt.
That’s all well and good, except that Matt’s reaction didn’t really make sense. The first time that she thought she might be pregnant, he noticed right away that she was quieter than usual and called her on it. She told him why, and then later told him that she wasn’t actually pregnant. A month later, though, when she realizes that she really is pregnant, he somehow doesn’t notice for weeks that Ali was acting funny. That just didn’t seem all that plausible.
Though the rest of Butterflies in May was rather predictable and constantly telegraphing the events to come, there were still some good points. The way that the characters acted was very realistic in most respects. The struggles and decision-making process that Ali, Matt, and the people around them went through were complicated and hard to figure out – something that I imagine would be the case in a real-life situation like this. I also really liked the juxtaposition between Ali and another girl she went to school with who is pregnant, though at times it seemed as though it was a just a plot device to force Ali into realizing something using external issues rather than her own thoughts.
All in all, this was an okay book, but nothing spectacular. I’ve read better books about teen pregnancy, but I’ve also read worse ones. If you come across Butterflies in May and it looks interesting, go for it … but I wouldn’t go searching it out.