Butterfly Porcupine: A Review

I was given this Young adult ebook by Susan Francis to review, so here’s what I think.

The book started off following Tasha as she got ready for her prom at the end of high school in Trinidad. It talked of them all saying goodbye and laid the groundwork of the book and the plot well. Tasha had decided to come to England to continue her education under her father’s roof and was saying goodbye to her mother, friends and brother to do so. I was intrigued right away, although I had one small moment of confusion when the dresses were talked about in terms of 1920’s and 1950’s and I had to try and work out when the book was set. The date’s made me think this might be a historical fiction book but it wasn’t, as I found out when the usual technology was mentioned.

I really liked Tasha and her prickly personality as well as Kai and his extroverted nature. The two were wonderful opposites and as we all know opposites attract.

On top of that I loved the way the estate they lived in worked. Aintree Court, being a closed off area where every neighbour is meant to look out for every other neighbour was the perfect example of good intentions not going quite right. I loved all the little quirks this brought to people’s behaviour and expectations and the way the upper middle class area looked down on anyone not part of their special ‘club’.

I did have a few niggles with the book, however. Mostly, the ages of the children. Half the kids were doing AS levels, including Tasha but all of them were 17 before they started and had 18th birthday parties throughout the year and following summer holidays. It confused me at first because that’s a year too old. English children are normally 16 and have 17th birthdays in their first year doing A-levels. This confusions continued with the kids in the year above, all of them were 18 before they even started their second year. At that point English kids go off to University, even if they only turn 18 in the summer holidays before hand. It just kept me confused a lot of the time, trying to work out who was in what year. I was surprised when Kai went to high school with the others for example,. He’d turned 18 before the book started so I expected him to be off at Uni and the only birthdays that were mentioned all seemed to happen in the summer holiday too.

My final niggle is actually the title. While it’s meant to describe the personality of Tasha, I didn’t get that until the last few pages and didn’t feel it entirely added to the sense of the book. It’s a YA romance book that I think would be served better by having a gender neutral title.

The book was still good and the romance was very sweet but I got a little put off by the lack of research. I still think I’d check out the sequel, however, now that I know the author had everyone a year older for where they are meant to be.

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