January 04, 2015

Butterflies Don't Lie

by B. R. Myers
Nimbus Publishing
978-1-77108-162-7
288 pp.
Ages 12+
September 2014

A review of Butterflies Don't Lie may have been better posted in September when the book was first released and when summer was hardly the distant memory it is now in January. But perhaps this is a great time to think about summer jobs, sun and sand and summer-time romances, when we need to enjoy the lightness that comes with being sixteen and working at a restaurant on the water and crushing on a guy.  Think back, whether it's years or months, and enjoy the warmth, be it the sun on your skin or the butterflies in your belly, that comes with B. R. Myers' first novel, Butterflies Don't Lie.

Sixteen-year-old Kelsey has her whole summer at home in Mariner's Cove ahead of her, and she's got one goal:  to grab the attention and hopefully a kiss from Blaine Mulder, a gorgeous classmate on whom Kelsey has been crushing. Her best friend, Francine, who is going to be away all summer, has helped Kelsey devise a plan (spreadsheet and all) that includes bumping into Blaine as he teaches sailing at the yacht club near the restaurant, the Queen's Galley, where Kelsey will be bussing tables.  But the best laid plans...well, you know the way they can go awry.

First, she becomes more responsible for her little brother, Chet, whom she adores but requires special attention.  Mom and Dad are not acting like themselves, and Mom is decidedly cool towards Kelsey's need to be a regular teen.  And, most unexpected of all, one of the Stunders (summer residents at Mariner's Cove) is working at the Queen's Galley and always seems to catch Kelsey at her worst: almost getting Chet injured, ruining the flower beds, losing Chet, mixing up sugar and salt, and getting drunk.  And while she doesn't stray from her Blaine spreadsheet, Kelsey is certainly taken with Luke (sadly known as How-Hole through most of the book) and his beautiful blue eyes and the butterflies that swoop inside when he looks at her.

It's pretty obvious that Kelsey and Luke are somehow going to get together, but neither is working that angle.  In fact, the multitude of magazine quizzes that Kelsey does regularly hint at nothing more than the outcome she wants for herself i.e., Blaine is the boyfriend for her.  Luke may be fairly private, and rumours of his sanity questioned, but he can see through Kelsey and the quizzes she cheats at, more insightful into her personality than she herself is.  What the reader will be waiting to learn is how the two will ever get together when Kelsey continues to be smitten with Blaine and things at home are so messed up.

While Butterflies Don't Lie may not be an emotionally shattering love story, it's as a first love, a summer love should be: light-hearted, playful, absurd, tenuous, and promising.  And B. R. Myers gets it all right.  Teens will enjoy second-guessing Kelsey's motivations, cheering her on, shouting at her to "Forget Blaine!" and encouraging her to be nice to Luke, while still wondering whether things can work out.  Again, even though B. R. Myers dangles several secrets as potential obstacles to Kelsey and Luke's romance,  the greatest complications are the teens' inability to be honest with themselves and second guessing the other's intentions.  Luckily, their mistakes aren't life- or relationship-threatening, only fodder for more humour.

Based on Butterflies Don't Lie, I think we can look forward to another youngCanLit author to follow here on CanLit for LittleCanadians; fortunately, B. R. Myers is set to release another young adult novel in 2015.

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After posting this review of Butterflies Don't Lie, B.R. Myers shared that a sequel to the book would be coming out in the fall of 2015.  Just Jesse will be published by Nimbus Publishing and will focus on the best friend of Chloe, the popular girl at the Queen's Galley who befriends Kelsey.  Chloe shares with Kelsey that her friend, Jesse, is also away and she misses her, just as Kelsey misses Francine.  There is a suggestion that Jesse has had a hard time dealing with the passing of her father, but we never meet Jesse, only her mom–the caterer hired after Kelsey drives away the cake decorator–and grandmother. Check out B. R. Myers' blog at http://bethanymyers.blogspot.ca/p/busgirl-blues.html to learn about Just Jesse and her other books, already published and forthcoming.

2 comments:

Bethany Myers said...

Thank you so much for the lovely review, Helen. It's wonderful how you promote Canadian authors and their books. I keep librarians on a very high pedestal. I hope you enjoy the sequel as much that comes out in September 2015.

Helen K said...

Wow! Always wonderful to hear from the author. Thanks, Bethany. And especially delightful to hear that there's a sequel coming. Bonus!