Ali Parker, a high school senior, is in love for the first time in her seventeen-year life. Her Mr. Perfect boyfriend, Matt Ryan, is a talented artist who hopes to attend Pratt Institute in New York, and Ali plans to major in journalism at a prestigious college. Both Ali and Matt are outstanding students. Their future possibilities seem endless.
Then the inconceivable happens—Ali becomes pregnant. Suddenly, her entire world shifts. Everything she was sure of changes. What should she do about this baby . . . about Matt . . . about her life? Ali is faced with the dilemma of responsibility and choice. She’s supported by a fun, loyal best friend, Monica, but Ali knows that now, nothing will ever be the same again. She’s abruptly and unwillingly forced into the world of adulthood as she faces the crisis of being a pregnant, unwed teenager.
As she considers her various options, Ali reveals her internal struggles honestly. As she wrestles with difficult decisions, not liking any of her choices, she learns about the tender balance of relationships while dealing with a shocked boyfriend, overbearing but loving parents, quirky teachers, and gossiping classmates. When tragedy strikes, Ali is also reminded that, while the unintentional life of a baby started so quickly within her, life can end all too quickly and unexpectedly as well.
Ali’s detailed narrative is so personal and endearing, it creates a vicarious experience for any reader. This compelling, inspiring, and enlightening story engages the heart as it shows the struggles of life, the selflessness of real love, and the endurance of hope.
“Butterflies in May is a heartwarming story that beautifully captures the full range of emotions of young love. It follows the emotional roller coaster of Ali and Matt and their families as they grapple with the realities of an unplanned pregnancy. It quickly took me back to my own teenage years and my idealistic notions of ‘young love that will last forever.’ As a mother, I thought of my own four children and how our family would handle this situation. As an educator, I was taken into the world of so many of my students and the heart-wrenching decisions they face at such a young age. I cried as I read the last pages. I will use this book in my child development/parenting classes because I want every boy and girl to experience the reality of the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mindset. Karen Hart is a master at capturing the emotions and using them to present to readers the truths, options, and decisions facing Ali and Matt and other like them. A great read!”―Becki Shrum, Family & Consumer Science Teacher, Poplar Bluff High School, Poplar Bluff, Mo
“Karen Hart’s Butterflies in May is a gut-wrenching yet realistic look at teen pregnancy. Told in the first person, Ali’s emotional, mental, and physical journey is a wonderfully accurate account that shows the far-reaching ripple effect that one ‘mistake’ can have. We as readers experience excellent character development in the reactions of the boyfriend, her parents, her friends, his parents, a trusted relative, teachers, and counselors. Often, teens naively think ‘it’s my baby, so it’s my decision,” but teen pregnancy forever changes so many lives. The reader’s emotions will run the gamut as Ali explores her options—abortion, adoption, parenting. Perhaps there is the realization that once the threshold of teen sex is crossed, life’s options change dramatically. This book is not only for girls, but also for boys and their families to read, and to frankly discuss ‘what if’ scenarios – the challenges and consequences of decisions before taking the leap into being sexually active. As Ali’s mom points out, being well informed does not preclude our doing dumb things. I am haunted by a sad question that will always remain unanswered—what would Ali and Matt’s future have been under different circumstances?”—Debra Smith, High School Teacher, Littleton, CO
“Butterflies in May is an insightful, true-to-life look into the heart of teenage pregnancy. Karen Hart has captured the struggle, heartache, indecision, and joy of teenage pregnancy. Her accurate portrayal had me in tears as I remembered my own experience as a pregnant teen. I went through the same emotions and decision-making process as Ali, the main character, and I’m glad that this book is out there for others to read and benefit from. I recommend Butterflies in May to everyone, whether they are experiencing a teenage pregnancy, have someone close to them in this situation, or just want to read an amazing and heartfelt book. I only wish this story had been around when I was eighteen.”—Jessica Stringer, Teacher and Mother, Greenville, TX
“I was engaged from the beginning. Sharing emotions of happiness, frustration, hope, and sadness with all the characters, I felt involved in the story. Reading this book is a safe way for a reader to experience and learn about unspoken topics. The physical, psychological, and emotional changes women go through during pregnancy were described perfectly. There were a variety of subjects exposed throughout the book that are extremely important: family, friendships, teen pregnancy, and high school love. Each topic was introduced and worked through, eventually coming to terms with the most positive way to handle all situations. Karen Hart painted a beautiful picture of adolescence and life. Butterflies in May is an incredibly appropriate book for high school students. I would recommend this book to young adult and adult readers alike.”—Kara Lemke, Physical Education Teacher, Maria Carrillo High School, Santa Rosa, CA
“A wonderful book that will be most useful to our students.”―Jackie Tinsley, School Age Parent Educator, Lakeview Centennial High School, Garland, TX
“Teenagers often keep traumatic experiences to themselves and spiral into depression or denial. The fact that teen pregnancy is a delicate subject makes it even more difficult to talk about openly. Butterflies in May breaks this taboo and brings readers immediately into Ali’s personal crisis of teen pregnancy, thereby providing a springboard for discussion and learning.”—Catharine Farrell, Librarian, Montgomery High School, Santa Rosa, CA
“I loved Butterflies in May! I read the book in one afternoon. As a freshman in high school, it gave me real insight into the challenges and consequences teenagers face when they choose to become involved in sexual relationships. It really touched my heart!”—Sarah Hickam, aged 14, student at Pope John Paul the II High School, Hendersonville, TN
“Butterflies in May soars right into the hearts of young and old readers alike. It takes you into an unparalleled journey through the life of an expectant teenager. Author Karen Hart does an exceptional job of pulling you right into the mind of an adolescent faced with a life altering decision: whether to have an abortion, keep her newborn, or give her baby up for adoption. Butterflies in May made me feel as if I was Ali (the expectant teenager). I got a better understanding of what it would be like if I were to become pregnant. With that information, I believe I’m even better equipped to teach my PSI (Postponing Sexual Involvement) class to pre-teens, who are curious about sex. I will definitely be using Butterflies in May as a teaching tool. This book is a must have for all families because it opens up channels of discussion. Butterflies in May has broken the chains of silence that have held this topic (teenage pregnancy) captive for years.”—Crystalyn Thomas-Davis, PSI Teen Leader, Walnut Hills High School ’07, Cincinnati, OH
About the Author Karen Hart
Karen Hart began writing as a teenager. She wrote for her high school newspaper and later majored in journalism at Illinois State University, where she also wrote for the campus newspaper, The Daily Vidette.
How do you hope your book will be used?
Butterflies in May can easily stand alone as a novel that teens will find engaging, whether they are sexually active or not. It’s a story about first love and letting go–timeless subjects that have wide audience appeal. But it certainly could be used as an educational tool, and I hope that it will. Statistics show that 80% of all teenagers are having sex. (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1998.) I think Butterflies in May, in an engaging way, brings young adult readers into situations with which they are likely to identify. This book addresses first love, adolescent sexuality, contraception, reproductive services, and relationships–topics that can serve as a platform for discussion at home or in school.
How is Butterflies in May different from other teen pregnancy books?
Butterflies in May does not resort to apologies, pitiful pictures, or victimhood to touch the reader. It’s not a story about being pressured to have sex, about getting date-raped, about being underprivileged, or about being unlikable. Teens by their very nature consider themselves invincible. To be painted as a victim is usually not something with which they identify. (If it were, 80% of them wouldn’t still be having sex, given the known probability of pregnancy and disease.) Ali and her story stand out for the fact that she and her boyfriend are strong and intelligent with big plans for their future education and lives. Their laudable qualities attract the interest and respect of the intended audience in a way that engages the young adult reader, bringing them into situations with which they are more likely to identify. Ali and Matt choose to become sexually active, they choose to take precautions. Do they think they’re invincible? Yes. Are they? No. They take precautions, but one time lose themselves in their youthful passion. Are they careless? Yes. Victims? No. What’s more, in Butterflies in May, the dilemma of responsibility and choice is stage front and center.
TITLE: Butterflies in May: A Novel
AUTHOR’S LAST NAME: Hart
AUTHOR’S FIRST NAME: Karen
EXACT NAME OF PUBLISHER: Bancroft Press
PUBLISHER PHONE NUMBER: 410-358-0658
PUBLISHER WEBSITE: www.bancroftpress.com
PUBLICATION DATE: May 2006 (May 2010 in E-Book Format)
NUMBER OF PAGES: 204
SUBJECTS/TOPICS OF BOOK: Young Adult Fiction, Adolescent Issues, Teenage Pregnancy
LEXILE® ANALYSIS: 730 (which equates to fourth grade on up)
ACCELERATED READER INFO: Quiz # 106894, Reading Level: 4.5; Interest Level: Upper Grade; Point Value: 9
To Buy “Butterflies in May”
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