Book Review: Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett

Plum Coyle is on the edge of adolescence. Her fourteenth birthday is approaching, when her old life and her old body will fall away, and she will become graceful, powerful, and at ease. The strength of the objects she stores in a briefcase under her bed —a crystal lamb, a yoyo, an antique watch, a coin —will make sure of it. Over the next couple of weeks, Plum’s life will change. Her beautiful neighbor Maureen will begin to show Plum how she might fly. The older brothers she adores will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends, her worst enemies, will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down. Butterfly is a gripping, disquieting, beautifully observed coming-of-age novel by an acclaimed author at the top of her form.

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Age Group:  Young Adult
Pages:  240 
Source:  YA Addict ARC tours 

This book is a YA coming-of-age story but it read more like adult literature.  There are definite adult themes, and the descriptions that go on and on and on would probably be off-putting to teens (I know they were to me).  

When I started Butterfly I almost thought it was going to have a paranormal twist.  Reading the summary made me suspect that, and then when I started it and it seemed to be in another world, I was getting confused.  The story is set in the 1970s or 1980s (it never says but that's what I suspect based on references to pop culture).  

Plum, whose real name is Ariella, is as awkward as could be, and I felt sorry for her the whole time.  Her story brought me back to my own awkward years---memories which I try to keep suppressed.  Who hasn't stood in your bedroom in front of your mirror, totally disgusted with the way you look?

It's not that I didn't like this story, but I really don't think I like coming-of-age novels , the overly descriptive prose felt stilted, and the writing style felt too advanced for the age group Butterfly was intended for.  

Just One Gripe: 
See above.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The twist about where all of Plum's secret treasures really came from.  Yeah, I saw it coming, but it was still great!

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
Not really

Characters: 3/5
Plot: 2/5
Setting/Imagery: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Ending: 2/5
Total Score:  11/25


  1. I just added this one to my huge pile of tbr books. Thanks for the review!

  2. Hmmm another... I think I will keep this one for when I have very little choice but category. Thanks for an honest review.


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