The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane is the story of Molly Wiliams, an 8th grader whose father has just died in a car accident. As a middle school girl, the last thing she wants is for the other students to look at her with pity or remember her for what happened to her instead of for who she is. In the meantime, things at home are not easy to handle either. Molly's mom is dealing with her husband's death by closing herself, keeping it quiet and distant instead of reaching out to Molly. Molly and her dad shared a common love for baseball. It is one of the memories that Molly wants to hold on to the most. It was the string that attach her and her dad. Her afternoons used to be filled with playing ball with her dad, of batting, and green fields. Molly's dad taught her how to throw a knuckleball and it made Molly strong and confident. Confident enough to decide to join the baseball team, the boys baseball team at her school. And with this decisions, comes a string of events that will define Molly at such a young age. One of the things I truly enjoyed about this book is the powerful language Mick Cochrane uses to describe some of Molly's deepest feelings. For example: on page 71 it says,
"But even now Molly didn't want to get over baseball and she sure didn't want to get over her dad. She didn't even want to get over her grief, that aching sadness in her chest. It connected her to him. It was a painful connection just the same, and she would never willingly give that up."
I must admit having this throat-tangling feeling several times as I am reading this book. Molly is such a believable character. She acts, responds and deals like a teenager would. But Molly is more mature than most eight graders I know but she is living her age, her sadness. But she is also incredibly talented in baseball, which is this talent with the combination of perseverance and strength that will make Molly become more than "the girl who threw butterflies."