Received: At the library
Rating: 3.75/5.0 stars
Summary: Eighth-grader Molly's ability to throw a knuckleball earns her a spot on the baseball team, which not only helps her feel connected to her recently deceased father, who loved baseball, it helps in other aspects of her life, as well.
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies is one of those books that seems short and easy to read through just from the looks of it, but there are so many layers within the story that it is not just a brief, quick read. Molly is not only dealing with the death of her father, which she believes could be more than just an accident, but she is also experiencing life with a mother who acts distant and unreachable due to the fact that she has lost her husband. Molly experiences a number of feelings in regards to her father’s death and the grieving process, which gives readers a clear understanding of how Molly is feeling.
Aside from Molly experiencing that, she is also going through the awkward stages of middle school, including feeling self conscious and unsure of boys. In addition, when softball tryouts are about to start, she feels torn because even though she is a girl and the softball team is where she “belongs”, Molly has such a stronger connection with baseball that she would rather try out for the baseball team than the softball team, no matter what the consequences might be. I liked this aspect of the story because Molly wasn’t just some girl wanting to be on a sports team for boys. Instead, she grew up loving and playing baseball with her father, that that is where she truly felt comfortable and where she belonged. She shows readers that it is ok to want something beyond what’s expected of you.
This book also contained light humor, which made it enjoyable to read. One of my favorite passages in the book is when Molly is describing some of the boys on the baseball bench: “They were chewing gum and spitting sunflower seeds, pushing and pawing each other and kicking up dirt, knocking off each other’s caps. They were tall as men, some of them, had ropey muscles in their arms, but they still acted like little boys. The whole scene at the bench looked a lot like fourth-grade recess.” Working with middle school students for a couple of years, this image is perfectly done. Boys especially are growing and although they might look like teens/young adults, they are still just regular middle school boys.
Besides grief and sports, Molly also questions her interest and “sort of” romance with a boy on the baseball team. Rather than this being a complete romance book, it just lightly touches on the topic. Although I was wanting a little more development at the conclusion of the book, The Girl Who Threw Butterflies is one of those light-hearted, emotionally connecting books that will be a perfect read for the tween/middle school level student.