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The Silver Petticoat Book Club Selects ‘Butterfly Yellow’ For May 2021 Book Club Pick

"This month's poetic read is sure to win your heart!"


*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning we may earn a commission if you choose to buy through our links. Please read our disclosure for more information.

Since we started this book club last year, it’s been our goal to introduce readers to various genres from a variety of voices – all with love stories included. This month is time for a newer book, and the one we’ve chosen is truly a beautiful novel. So, we’re excited to now announce our May 2021 book club pick. It’s a deeply affecting novel full of hope, sadness, love (familial and romantic), and charm. We hope you enjoy it and that you’ll read with us!


Butterfly Yellow Featured image for May 2021 Book Club Pick

“Thanhha Lai’s Butterfly Yellow artfully blends comedy and tragedy in a deeply moving story about refugees, siblings, and youthful dreams. For someone who wants to know more about the Vietnamese refugee experience—or how to be a cowboy—this taut novel is a great place to start.”

Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

When choosing this month’s new book pick, we wanted to select a novel completely different from anything we’ve done before. With a unique setting and an odd (yet endearing) pairing, this month’s poetic read is sure to win your heart!

The May 2021 read is…Butterfly Yellow. Winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Butterfly Yellow is a gorgeous historical fiction Own Voices YA novel that uses masterful language to tell a beautiful story about a refugee, her lost brother, and a cowboy.

★ “Every sentence is infused with warmth, and Lại shows readers that countless moments of grace exist even in the darkest times. Masterfully conjures grace, beauty, and humor out of the tragic wake of the Vietnam War.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The use of linguistics still touches me. A couple of years later, after reading Butterfly Yellow for the first time, I still think about the characters. There’s just something moving in the way Thanhhà Lai tells a story. Hopefully, the book will move you as well.

Now, this book has romance in it, but it is not a romance. The budding love story is sweet and hopeful but not the main focus of the story.

Content Note: There is PTSD in the novel, and some of the descriptions of war, refugees’ traumatic experiences, racism, etc., may be triggering.

For more on Butterfly Yellow, read our mini-interview with Thanhhà Lai in the Top 25 YA Novels of 2019.


Butterfly Yellow book cover

Winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Ibi Zoboi, and Erika L. Sanchez, this gorgeously written and deeply moving own voices novel is the YA debut from the award-winning author of Inside Out & Back Again. 4 starred reviews!

In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.

Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn’t know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.

Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn’t remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.


Disclosure: We are an affiliate of Bookshop.org (a place that supports independent bookstores), so we will earn a commission if you purchase from one of our links.

You can also buy the book on *Amazon (affiliate link). It’s available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, and on Audible.


(A Book Club Focused on Sweet or Sophisticated Love Stories From All Genres.)

For those new to the book club, we rotate between choosing more recent books and “classics,” meaning every other pick will alternate between contemporary and classic choices.

We define any book published before the year 2000 as a classic. New books are everything published afterward. If you’re new to the club, make sure to check out our past book club picks HERE.

This month’s pick is a contemporary book, first published on September 3, 2019.


We discuss our book club pick the month’s final week (or the second month for two-month book club picks) on the three social media channels listed below. However, the main discussion questions will be on Facebook and Goodreads. We will also post downloadable discussion questions on The Silver Petticoat Review for personal use.

In short, after we announce a new book club pick, you’ll want to get a copy of the book (buy the book, borrow it from the library, etc.) and read it. Come prepared online to discuss when we post book club discussions on our social media channels during the month’s final week. You can also gather your own group to discuss with family and or friends in person (more information on that below).

We may include virtual events from time to time, but most conversations are online and in forums/posts.

You can stay up to date on the book club by following our website, The Silver Petticoat Review (subscribe to our newsletter for updates). You can also follow the #TheSilverPetticoatBookClub on our social media channels.

Read more about The Silver Petticoat Book Club HERE.


Last month, we mentioned gathering your own local chapter of The Silver Petticoat Book Club. That can be as small or as big as you want it to be! Want to discuss the book with your sister or mother? That works!

Or maybe, you have a group of friends who like to hang out together and discuss books. This book club is perfect for that.

While we will continue to have discussions online, the best book clubs also include in-person discussions. So, if you want to participate in more than our social media channels, make sure to download our monthly discussion questions and discuss the book with your family and friends. We’ll help you get the discussion started!

Also, please feel free to use the hashtag on social media to show how you’re participating. Share fun photos, your favorite quotes, and more! We’d love to hear from you.

What are your thoughts on our May 2021 book club pick, Butterfly Yellow? Are you going to read it with us? Let us know in the comments!

The Silver Petticoat Book Club Selects ‘Butterfly Yellow’ For May 2021 Book Club Pick: Pinterest image


By on May 1st, 2021

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely site and works as a YA Librarian.

More posts by this author.

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