The Boy with the Butterfly Mind – Victoria Williamson, Kelpies; (9781782506003), 2019
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Jamie and Elin are completely different except that they are both children of divorce. Jamie is forgetful, impulsive, and scatterbrained because of his severe ADHD. He lives with his mother and her boyfriend, Chris, in England, but he misses his dad everyday. Elin is a perfectionist who refuses to meet her new half sister because she’s convinced she can get her parents back together by being the “Perfect Princess.” Elin lives in Scotland with her mother and her boyfriend, Paul…who is also Jamie’s dad. So when Jamie moves in with his dad, Elin, and her mom, things get difficult. Elin’s convinced Jamie’s terrible behavior will get him and Paul kicked out, but then Jamie’s behavior improves when he starts ADHD medication for the first time. The entire time Elin is secretly trying to wreak havoc on the blended family, Jamie is attempting to win Elin and her mother over with mixed results. Elin is MEAN — she interferes with Jamie’s medication, destroys his science project and allows him to be blamed for things he didn’t do in school. Elin eventually realizes Jamie isn’t the threat to her parents reunifying; it’s never going to happen anyway. This heartbreaking book about the pain of divorce is a must-buy for all elementary libraries. Elin and Jamie’s alternating first-person chapters help the reader understand both perspectives. Jamie’s perspective is sure to help increase understanding about the difficulty of living with severe ADHD. The plot flows quickly and readers will likely find themselves experiencing strong emotions throughout this powerful novel.
To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like emotional books that involve broken and blended families.
Anything you didn’t like about it? At times it’s hard to take how mean Elin is, but her actions and emotions are realistic. It does read young, so is probably best suited for students in grades 3 – 6.
Who should buy this book? All elementary and most middle school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Realistic fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? no
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date reviewed: September 19, 2019
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