The Boy with the Butterfly Mind

Floris/Kelpies. Nov. 2019. 224p. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781782506003.
Gr 4-6–Elin and Jamie, the two narrators in this absorbing novel, couldn’t be more different. Elin strives to be perfect under the mistaken belief that it will prompt her father to return to the family. Her obsessive behavior does nothing to endear her to her peers, and she’s quite lonely. Jamie is convinced his ADHD caused not only his parents’ marriage ending, but also the tension between his mom and her new boyfriend. He’s looking forward to moving to America with them and making a new start. Unfortunately, Jamie learns that his mother and her boyfriend need a new start in America without him. He’s sent to live with his father, his live-in girlfriend, and her daughter—Elin. Jamie’s loud, messy, distracted ways cause issues with Elin and her mother. Elin sees the tension Jamie’s presence is causing between her mom and Jamie’s dad so she hatches a horrifying plan to rid both of them from her life. Jamie is the more sympathetic of the narrators. He’s also achingly, naively honest, though the severity of his ADHD makes his company trying. Elin is less sympathetic as her obsession causes her to lie and manipulate. Middle school dynamics are realistically portrayed as are most family dynamics.
VERDICT A fine addition that may prompt discussion and help build empathy among thoughtful readers.

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