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Water in May

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  191 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Mari Pujols believes that the baby shes carrying will finally mean shell have a family member who will love her deeply and wont ever leave hernot like her mama, who took off when she was eight; or her papi, whos in jail; or her abuela, who wants as little to do with her as possible. But when doctors discover a potentially fatal heart defect in the fetus, ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Harry N. Abrams
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♡ the belle and the book ♡
"Fifteen years is too young to get arrested for dealing. But it's not too young to become a father. Or a mother. It's not too young to make something that's gonna love you forever."


What a disappointing book everyone!

Let me start off this review by saying that I rarely give a one-star rating. You really have to irritate the shit out of me and/or bored me to hell. With this book, I can say that it deserved my rating. There were so many problematic things about this book that I'll discuss later
This book was heart wrenching. It tugged at my heartstrings all the way through and made me feel emotions that I wasnt ready to feel. It was SO GOOD! Such an enjoyable yet heartbreaking read. It has the perfect knack to break your heart and then repair it again.

It is wonderfully written, with characters that show immense depth and the character development is incredibly powerful.

It discusses some very serious topics, topics of which I havent seen covered much in YA fiction, and I personally
Mari is a half-dominican girl who finds herself pregnant -- and it's not the pregnancy that's the issue. She's quite glad to be pregnant, as she's eager to have someone to call her own, someone who is a solid and stable part of her family. But when a scan of the baby reveals a hold in his heart, everything changes. Does she keep the baby? And if so, how does she find the support to raise a special needs child?

This is a moving and powerful story, and it's clear that this is based on real
2.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from Amulet Books (Abrams&Chronicle) in exchange for an honest review.

Mari Pujols is fifteen and pregnant but she cant wait to meet her child until she finds out he only has half a heart. Now Mari is facing the toughest choice she can make as a mother - continue with her pregnancy and risk losing her baby at the end of it, or have a termination.

This should have been a very emotional, impactful story and while parts of it definitely were, I think
A Million Books

I received an ARC from Abrams and Chronicle Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Im sitting here, looking at the blinking cursor, trying to describe exactly how a book as stunning as Water In May made me feel.

I read it within the span of a day and I found it so hard to put down because Ismee Williams managed to capture EVERYTHING about being a pregnant fifteen year old whose baby has a very serious
Water in May is an astonishing debut, and author Ismée Williams has done the impossible by writing a book that is both readable and important while also managing to be beautiful and profound. In Water in May, Williams gives us Mari Pujols, who is happy to be pregnant at fifteen but also facing an uphill battle with her pregnancy and her home life. Mari pulls us in with her fighting spirit and her unyielding hope. We root for her from the first page to the last. And in the process, laugh and cry ...more
Sara Truog
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story surprised me and drew me in. As a parent, reading about this kid who has to make a difficult choice that no one of any age could prepare for broke my heart. Mari's story is a refreshing change from the typical YA fare, with well-drawn characters, an unlikely heroine, and a moral/medical dilemma that you just don't run into in many teen books. My library has purchased it, I look forward to discussing it with my adult book club later this month, and I look forward to reading more work ...more
Sinead Anja (Huntress of Diverse Books)
Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!

I received an ARC of Water in May from Netgalley. I was in a contemporary mood, and felt like reading a sad story, so this was just what I was looking for.


I enjoyed the writing in this book, and the flawless combination of Spanish and English in both the dialogue and the descriptions. English words that Mari didnt know were italicised, as were the Spanish phrases. This book is very fast-paced, which I thought was great as it
Megan Rogers
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Maribel Pujols is 15 yrs old and pregnant. She is looking forward to having a baby who will love her unconditionally, unlike her Mama, Papi, Abuela and everyone else in her life. Mari doesn't trust very many people, but she does trust Doc Hottie aka Dr. Joshua Love the pediatric cardiologist that diagnosed her unborn baby with HLHS, a severe heart defect, because he always treats her respectfully and tells her the truth with kindness.
Water in May can be painful to read at times, but it's real.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mari is fifteen and when she found out that she was pregnant, she soon grows to love her baby. In him, she sees a chance for a family member who will always love her and never leave her. But when she finds out that her son has a heart condition, it all gets even more complicated.

I quickly grew to sympathize with Mari. Her mother took off when she was seven, her dad is in prison and her grandmother always
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very sweet, touching story
Kayla (Kayla's Book Nook)
*4.5 Stars*

Truthfully, I often avoid contemporaries like this. They can tend to be saddening, so I usually stick to the fluffier ones. But the synopsis of this book got me curious, so I knew that I had to read it to see what happens.

Water in May ended up being fabulous! It both broke and touched my heart in all the best ways, and I felt like I could really feel a raw emotional connection to this story. 

For a brief synopsis, this book follows the perspective of a girl named Mari. She is only
Kellee Moye
Maris story is one that isnt often told. Mari is someone most people would see on the streets and would try to ignore because getting to know her would be getting to know how hard life in America can be. But Mari is also someone who is stronger than many of us will ever be. Her story is one that will make readers think about assumptions OR will help readers see a mirror into struggles they may be having in life. Although I hope teens dont see Maris story as an invitation for a teenage pregnancy, ...more
Williams's debut YA novel follows Mari, a pregnant Dominican teenager from Washington Heights, who finds out that the baby she is carrying has a very serious congential heart defect. Mari is a complicated character who you will not always like, but you will be cheering her on as she fights for her baby and herself despite the odds.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.75/5 stars

I am SO EXCITED that this book exists!!! This book is very important to me. Here are some thoughts!

Some context about my life you gotta know before you read this review: My youngest brother, Andrew, was born with a congenital heart defect when I was 6. Andrew had Transposition of The Great Arteries ( read his story here.) But while Andrew is now alive and well, not all babies with congenital heart defects are as lucky. My mother befriended a woman whose child, Colin, had Hypoplastic
Stairwell Librarian
Our MC, Mari, may only be 15 years old, but she has been through a lot in her short life and she is a fighter. Since her Mama ran off when she was young and her Papi is sitting in Sing Sing; Mari is left living with her Abuela and Abuela's boyfriend 'Toto' (who want as little to do with her as possible. That's all okay though, because she has her faithful girl Tribe (Yaz, Teri and Heavenly) and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Bertie.

This book starts right off with Mari making an appointment
Katie Blythe
Nov 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Mari is a 15 year old Dominican American who is pregnant. Mari is ecstatic because her personal life hasnt been the best. Her mother left her with her grandmother when she was 8 years old, her father has been in jail for dealing drugs since she was 3, and recently her grandmother doesnt seem to want anything to do with her. She feels that having this baby is exactly what she needs to have someone who will finally love her
Fifteen-year-old Mari Pujols is thrilled to be pregnant. Although she knows things won't be easy for her and her unborn child, she is convinced that the baby will give her a reason to live and be someone who won't leave her. Mari has good reason to have that particular goal and her abandonment issues. After all, her mother left her with her grandmother when she was eight and her father is incarcerated. And her grandmother has her own issues. Still, Mari has her three best friends, Heavenly, ...more
American Mensa
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Water in May by Ismee Williams is a realistic fictional novel that delves into the life of Mari Pujols, a pregnant, fifteen-year-old Dominican immigrant living in New York. Abandoned by her parents and raised by her hateful grandmother, Mari excitedly awaits the birth of her son, whom she is certain will always love her and never leave her. However, Maris hopes are crushed when she discovers that her unborn baby has HLHS, an often fatal heart condition. As Mari decides whether to abort the ...more
I guess this is another book that is just not for me. ( Maybe I have outgrown YA literature). I had hard time with the broken English, the subject- teen pregnancy, and by the way, 15 years old is really young to be pregnant, if you ask me. I felt like the book actually encourages teenagers to get pregnant. And it shows how proud 15 years old is to be pregnant. I think this is the wrong message to send to young people.

Thrown Spanish slang in between English, wasn't helpful at all. I only
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eve beinguniquebooks
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When Mari finds herself pregnant, with Bertie's baby, she is supported by her friends as they navigate teenage life and school still.

Her friends, Yaz, Teri and Heavenly accompany her to her twenty one week scan, excited together and find themselves meeting Dr Love, a young good looking doctor.

Then they get told that the healthy baby boy is actually going to need surgery as he will be born with only half a heart.

Bertie and Mari argue and he leaves, Mari gets support from her friends and grandma
Adelaide Mcginnity
This book has two very important aspects in its favor: originality, and tremendously well-crafted characters. Yes, Mari is flawed (and a bit of a puta), but that is what gives her such charm. I do not buy for a second that she's some sort of gangsta-ass thug, and I am not supposed to buy it; instead, I am supposed to see her for what she is, a troubled child living in a world indifferent to her struggling.

Is the world authentic? Given that the author is Cuban American writing about Dominican
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This YA novel about sassy, troubled teen Mari, had me (a middle-aged mom) so captivated I missed a subway stop while reading this. Maris world is heartwarming, heartbreaking and immersive. Williams weaves copious medical details together with teen characters that are fleshed out with astonishing skill. Mari and her friends speak in peppery Spanish slang, have good intentions clouded by youthful impulsiveness, and inspire as their actions start reflecting their growing emotional insight. This ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, arc, mexican
I received this e-arc for an honest review, thank you Amulet Books!

Wow, this book was unique, I mean one is to read about being young and pregnant and trust me, I have read several books which, each of them was so vivid and moving, however, Water in May stands out because the baby to be has complications. I think in the genre, of YA books it's good to see these early pregnancy novels coming back, closing paranormal craze of writing and being more down to earth, although I like those too.

Lisa Rowland
I actually really liked the story of this one once I got into it. I wanted to rate it higher, but I have an uncorrected proof of this one, and I'm not sure how much of the grammar is a mistake or intentional. It was a little jarring at times because I just couldn't tell. Also, the book is sprinkled with Spanish, some explained in text and some not (and some common enough that I knew it already). There was a glossary in the back that I didn't know about while reading, but I find the use of ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. It's got a great story that keeps you turning the pages. But it also has so much emotion packed into it. You really get inside the head of Mari (the main character). Her journey is so difficult and incredible, and in the end inspirational. I didn't always like what Mari did or agree with it, but I understood it. And she is so tough that she demands your respect, but she's also very vulnerable and you wind up loving her just as much for that. The other characters in the ...more
Trudi Lord
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything is very real in this story. This book has strong female characters that you can cheer for but they are not infallible. The MC, Mari's emotions are deep and raw. The author's extensive knowledge of cardiology, as well as what really happens in a NICU, makes the story even more realistic. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming and will rope you in from the beginning.

Let's face it, any girl or woman who has been pregnant falls in love with their baby, and starts worrying about him/her,
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A MUST READ for anyone who has ever longed for love! Ismee Williams is a masterful storyteller, delving into the unexpected complications of a teenage pregnancy with a uniquely authentic and compassionate voice. As we ride the roller coaster of a journey with fifteen-year-old Mari, we find ourselves as conflicted as she is. We cheer her on, yet wish she were on a different ride. We become enveloped in her life, feeling her pain, her hope and her heartbreak. All the characters in Water in May, ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by a pediatric cardiologist and is based on a true story. It is raw, realistic and very sad. The characters are not likable and their situations are lamentable. It is, however, for the most part, an excellent story. Fifteen year old Mari Pujols is pregnant and she learns that her baby has a serious heart defect. Her family and the baby's father want her to have an abortion. At her school, girls being pregnant is not unusual, girls having abortions isn't unusual, girls having ...more
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