How to Befriend a Butterfly 06/08/20
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Kate Thomas lives on a struggling dairy farm with only twelve cows left after the devastating effect of foot-and-mouth disease on the herd. She's a shy and ungainly girl ostracised by her classmates for being different, leaving her with her bovine beasts as her only companions. When a random accident brings her into closer contact with Gemma from the local housing estate, this clash of urban and rural teenagers ends up having huge mutual benefits for both of them.
Gemin ticks all the right boxes with this, his debut novel. Young girl going bad sees the error of her ways, the shunned class weirdo becomes the local hero, a divided community comes together again, a troubled family rediscovers their love for each other. He does all this with great humour and sensitivity and most of all with a single metaphor at the heart of his work - the healing qualities brought about by the gentle and unselfish presence of cows in people's lives.
Cowgirl is not only an uplifting tale about friendship and family, it is most of all about community.