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Butterflies in May – Book Review

By Brynne Adamson
Book: Butterflies in May
Author: Karen Hart
Published: 2007

Book summary: “Ali Parker, a high school senior, is in love for the first time in her seventeen-year life. Her Mr. Perfect boyfriend, Matt Ryan, is a talented artist who hopes to attend Pratt Institute in New York, and Ali plans to major in journalism at a prestigious college. Both Ali and Matt are outstanding students. Their future possibilities seem endless. Then the inconceivable happens: Ali becomes pregnant. Suddenly, her entire world shifts. Everything she was sure of changes. What should she do about this baby, about Matt, about her life? Ali is faced with the dilemma of responsibility and choice…” (from goodreads.com).

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What this book did well 

Karen Hart’s “Butterflies in May” does a great job of showing the difficulties that come with a teenage pregnancy through the main character Ali. Being a pregnant teenager comes with a lot of prejudice and strifes while in high school, which helps readers connect and feel sympathy for Ali. If Ali didn’t have the eventual support of her family and friends, the situation would have been even harder for this character.

Hart doesn’t gloss over the costs of a baby, college tuition and renting an apartment, although she doesn’t state the amount of these costs outright. This adds layers of realism to the story that other books sometimes neglect. The author also doesn’t gloss over the relationship struggles Ali goes through when those around her find out she’s pregnant. Sometimes parents cut off ties to their children when they find out they are pregnant, as Ali finds out through a fellow pregnant student, so it was nice to see how Ali works through the highs and lows of many of her relationships.

The author does a great job of showing the many options Ali has when dealing with her unintended pregnancy, such as abortion, open adoption or keeping the baby. To read more about these options and more, one can visit other articles published on the Adoption Choices website.

What this book could improve upon

Oftentimes, the author used cliches through the character Ali when talking about high school life that made it feel like a sitcom. For example, Ali makes fun of the cheerleaders for being too peppy and the jocks as being attractive but dumb. These cliches took away from the realism that made the book enjoyable, and they didn’t really add much to the story of Ali being pregnant.

Some parts in the beginning of the book could be cut out or written more to the point, mainly the parts where Ali keeps delaying to tell her boyfriend and her parents that she’s pregnant. Though the author may have been trying to show Ali’s struggle to accept that she’s pregnant, her struggle to simply tell the truth was a cliche in and of itself. Ali’s delays in telling those around her was frustrating to watch as a reader and could’ve been sped along.

Who should read this book

As this book is pretty upfront about sex and sexual terms, this book is best suited for young adults or older who are looking to understand what it’s like to be pregnant while in high school. This book does a great job of showing the intricacies of teenage pregnancies, and, while the characters could be more complex, the book shows how hard it was for Ali to come to a decision on what to do about her pregnancy.

Overall, this book is an emotional, light read and is helpful for young adults who are going through their first love.

More adoption book reviews by Brynne Adamson:

Missing Sisters – Adoption Book Review

“Forever, or a Long, Long Time” – Adoption Book Review

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