________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 22. . . .February 13, 2015


Butterflies Don’t Lie.

B. R. Myers.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2014.
272 pp., trade pbk. & Ebook, $15.99 (pbk.), $8.99 (Ebook).
ISBN 978-1-77108-162-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77108-163-4 (Ebook).

Grades 8-12 / Ages 13-17.

Review by Crystal Sutherland.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



“You can’t ignore me the whole summer.” There was a long pause. “Kelsey?” Then he sighed. I stopped mid rip. He sounded just like my mom.

That did it. I turned and gave him my best dagger eyeball glare. The last time we had a staring contest, he’d been wearing sunglasses and all I could see was my reflection. But this time, a pair of blue eyes blinked back at me. Piercing blue eyes. Just like a tropical ocean. Ocean. Water.


A cold flush ran down my spine.

He leaned back a bit, and his blue eyes grew even wider.

“Looks like Luke’s got the hang of it.” Loretta’s head suddenly poked between us. She noticed his empty sink.

I waved toward my bowl, fishing for a compliment.

Loretta’s face fell. She tilted up the bowl and showed me a glossy pile of shrimp heads. My insides crumpled a bit.

“We’re not serving the heads,” she said. Then she slid a tall white bucket across the floor with her foot. “Put all those heads in here,” she ordered. “Then finish your sink.”

She looked at Luke and motioned to a workstation in the corner. “You come with me. You’ll be expected to help with salads and desserts.” He tried to catch my eye, but I refused to give him the satisfaction. I had a plan: play it cool, then attack him when there were no witnesses.

Still, this was hardly the beginning I had been envisioning for Operation Tongue.


Seventeen year old Kelsey is in love with shoulders – more specifically, she’s in love with Blaine’s shoulders which she got to stare at all year in math class. Summer break is about to begin, and even her beloved magazine quizzes can’t give her a foolproof way to get her ‘shoulder fix’ over the next couple months. Her genius friend Francine, however, has a foolproof plan in spreadsheet format that will get the job done, even though Francine will be away the entire summer. A spreadsheet is a poor replacement for a best friend, but Kelsey will have to make it work. What could go wrong besides everything?

     Kelsey’s shifts at the Queen’s Galley, a restaurant beside the yacht club ‘Shoulders’ will be working at, fit perfectly around her younger brother Chet’s swimming lessons. Although Kelsey loves her little brother and knows it can be difficult for her parents balancing work and ensuring their son, who has Down syndrome, has a full life with all the experiences other kids his age have, she sometimes feels like she’s a third parent and not Chet’s big sister. She can understand why they might appreciate her help because while he’s very charming, Chetter, Kelsey’s pet name for her little brother, can be a handful. Even the most organized plan, perfect spreadsheet included, can’t account for everything, and a blue mohawk on a bike. The guy with the blue mohawk, Luke, seems to go out of his way to ruin Kelsey’s summer, made easier because he’s also working at the Queen’s Galley for the summer. Although he goes out of his way to cover for and help her whether she wants it or not, she writes him off as a criminal and all around ne’er do well. He almost destroys her faith in magazine quizzes when they point her again and again toward Luke and not her true love, Blaine. Only after she drunkenly rants at a boat party where she tells Luke exactly what she thinks of him and his philandering father and her true love Blaine using her to get himself and his friends into the bar at the Queen’s Gallery does she begin to realize the quizzes may know her better than she knows herself.

      When Kelsey confronts her mother about the tension in their home and the extra responsibilities she’s been given taking care of Chet, she finds out her parents aren’t getting a divorce as she’d thought. Her father has been laid off and is spending a lot of time searching for jobs, which is why they’ve given Kelsey extra responsibilities. Once she’s started talking, Kelsey can’t stop: she tells her mother about her boss who spends most of his time telling her how stupid she is along with how terrible she is at her job. Kelsey’s mother can’t believe someone would talk to and treat her daughter with such disrespect. Her response, marching into the restaurant and making it clear no one gets away with treating her daughter or anyone else so poorly, terrifies the manager who is more than happy to respond to all of her demands, including Kelsey’s getting the afternoon off to attend, rather than serve at, Luke’s father’s wedding. Kelsey’s co workers look on in awe and admiration as her mother lectures their boss and reins in his ego. Readers will feel the same satisfaction as the characters as Kelsey’s rude and irrational boss is taught a lesson in a way only a mother could deliver.

     Myers’ characters, all with very human flaws, are hard not to love from the start. Readers will feel Kelsey’s pain as she tries to figure out what’s going on with her parents who look so stressed and tired all of the time, how to win Blaine’s heart and not let Francine and her plan down, and what it is that annoys her so much about Luke. They’ll experience Kelsey’s firsts like they’re their own: first love, first broken heart, first job, first time drinking, and the first time standing up to her parents. Kelsey is easy to relate to, and readers will surely root for her even when her choices are cringe worthy. With the book ending with Kelsey and Luke’s first date, his father’s wedding at the Queen’s Galley which his father owns, readers will be left hoping there’s a sequel to come.

Highly Recommended.

Crystal Sutherland is a MEd (Literacy) and MLIS graduate living in Halifax, NS, where she is solo librarian for the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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