The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane

Cindy: Whenever Lynn makes me read a science fiction book I respond by forcing her to read something that tugs at her emotions. She would rather cavort with aliens than have to pull out a tissue while she reads. Oh well, baseball season is upon us and I’ve been begging her to read The Girl Who Threw Butterflies (Knopf, 2009), which I reviewed for Booklist in March. Molly’s emotions waver up and down like the knuckleball pitch her father taught her to throw as she and her mother deal with their grief over his accidental death. Spring sports season is upon her and Molly decides she cannot abide softball any longer and takes the risk of trying out for the boys’ baseball team. The sports detail is good, the budding romance with a fellow player is sweet, but Cochrane knocks it out of the park in portraying the relationship between mother and daughter as they rearrange the line-up that is their new life together without Molly’s dad.

Lynn: Cindy is right. I usually run the other way from books that make me cry. Give me aliens, humor and escapism any day! I may never forgive her for making me read Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Deaver when we first started working together. I was reading it while eating lunch and made a complete fool of myself sobbing into my french fries. So a book about a girl and her mother grieving was not at the top of my list. The first two chapters were tough going for me as Cochrane’s wonderfully nuanced picture of loss had me searching for a kleenex. Fortunately in Chapter 3, Molly decides to try out for the boy’s baseball team and I was hooked. Saved by the knuckleball! Seriously, Molly is a genuine appealing character and the portrayal of a young girl missing her father and redefining her relationship with her mother while learning the rules of the games we all play goes right to the heart. The baseball metaphors work nicely and I especially enjoyed the section where Molly muses about whether baseball signals could be applied to real life. Cochrane touches all the bases with this book.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

4 Comments on "The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane"

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  1. jsnyder895@aol.com' Jeff says:

    Hi Lynn and Cindy,

    I’m with you Lynn. I prefer aliens and hyperspace to tears and roiling emotions any day. Still, it’s my wife who drags me into the world of deeper emotion…she makes me see movies that just might win Oscars for something other than special effects too (she’s tough that way)! I go reluctantly but it’s worth the trip. I’m glad I found your site. This is a terrific service. We have a teenage daughter who’s a voratious reader and it’s great to get a heads up on what is worth steering her way. Thanks, Jeff

  2. I’m glad you find Bookends helpful – especially as you sound like a reader after my own heart ūüėČ We’ve been reading some terrific teen books lately and hope to be posting them soon. Thanks for the comment!

  3. trystin_lanigan1996@hotmail.com' trystin says:

    umm i have a question when does this story take place?

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