Water in May by Ismée Amiel Williams (ARC Review)

Goodreads: Water in May
Series: None
Source: Received from publicity agent for review
Publication Date: Sept . 12, 2017


Fifteen-year-old Mari Pujols believes that her unborn baby will be the one person in her life who finally loves her.  Her mother is gone, her father is in jail, her abuela never liked her, and Bertie?  Well, Mari’s not dumb enough to think Bertie will stick around.  But then Mari discovers that her baby has a heart condition and will need several surgeries to survive.  Everyone around her thinks she should abort the baby.  But Mari isn’t quite sure she wants to give up on him yet.


Water in May celebrates the strength of single mothers.  Even while surrounded by her supportive friends, Mari sometimes feels alone.  And she knows that, when the doctors say her unborn baby has a heart condition, her friends will want her to abort the baby rather than face the challenges that lie ahead.  But Mari believes that her little Angelo can make it.  And she’s willing to do whatever it takes to fight for his survival.

This book can sometimes feel very heavy.  Feeling abandoned by the people around her, Mari increasingly isolates herself.  She loses friends.  She stops attending class.  Eventually, she isn’t even sure she has a place to stay.  But social workers?  No way Mari is going to deal with them.  She’s convinced she can do everything on her own.  She has to, if she wants her baby to live.

At the same time, however, there are redeeming moments of light.  Mari has a very supportive girl crew.  She can delight in the simple moments like dancing in the park.  And her love for her baby imbues the whole book.  Mari has a lot of love to share.  She just hasn’t had many people who were willing to let her share it.

Water in May challenges stereotypes about single mothers.  It presents Mari as a fighter, strong, determined, and wanting the best for her child.  The people around her might not think his life is worth saving, but Mari does.  And her love for him makes her capable of great sacrifice.  It’s a heartwarming tale about how one life can change and challenge others.

4 stars

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