BUTTERFLY by Sonya Hartnett


Age Range: 14 & up


Lush with a melancholy beauty, this intensely introspective novel focuses on the experiences of 14-year-old Plum as she leaves behind the quiet ease of childhood and steps into the cacophony of her teen years in 1980s Australia. Cursed with a group of catty girlfriends, Plum worries about her appearance, her place among her friends and her weight, finding solace in a collection of unlikely inanimate objects. Her married neighbor Maureen, who is secretly carrying on an affair with Plum’s older brother, supports her. This complicated relationship is just one of the pieces that result in a narrative—told in a tightly filtered third-person present-tense narration that alternates among Plum, her older brothers, Justin and Cydar, and Maureen—that seems geared more for an older audience than teens. The hazily nostalgic tone also feels like one an adult reader might better appreciate. Deeply discomfiting and artful in its use of language, this unusual and moody chronicle of Plum’s horridly awkward adolescence will captivate sophisticated readers, but it likely won’t be for everyone. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4760-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2010


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