Monday, October 28, 2013

REVIEW--The Knife and the Butterfly

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend!  I took a 2 1/2 hour nap on Sunday (when I probably should have been blogging) and it was FANTASTIC!  Definitely needed!

So last week I attended the Indiana Library Federation annual conference.  This was the first time that I really focused on networking at a conference (rather than just sitting and absorbing information), and I couldn't believe what a difference it made!  I got SO much more out of the conference by meeting other librarians, sharing ideas, and just TALKING.  I can't wait to continue building some of these relationships and moving forward in our progressive field.  And a special shout-out to Heather and Ruth who were both super-fun to meet!

A REALLY exciting part of the conference, though, was that I got to present with author Ashely Hope Perez!  We presented together on how authors and librarians can work together to provide unique experiences for students.  I think our presentation went really well and I was honored that I was asked to be a part of it.  Here's a photo of us right after our presentation:

Isn't Ashley super-adorable?!  And so super-sweet!

So I thought it would only be fitting to review one of Ashley's books, The Knife and the Butterfly, today. 

  •  Standalone novel
  • Realistic
The Gist:
Azael  is in the infamous gang, MS-13.  So it's not really that surprising when his gang gets in a HUGE brawl with a rival gang.  But what IS surprising is when Azael wakes up the next morning after the brawl.  He's in a jail cell but he doesn't remember much from the fight at all.  In fact, he really has no idea what landed him in jail.  But this isn't a traditional jail.  Azael doesn't get a lawyer visit or his phone call home; instead, he's forced to observe an inmate named Lexi.  He has no idea who she is or why he's supposed to watch her, but he can't shake the feeling that she has all the answers about his situation.

What I Loved:
  • Such a raw, violent, unrestrained story, which is exactly what a book about a teen in a gang should be!  I've read "gang books" before where there aren't even guns, so this book made the situation seem real.
  • I love that it was inspired by a real-life event; this kind of life really does happen!
  • The last few chapters bring everything together and it is FANTASTIC!  The ending had me thinking about the book for a few more days.
  • I loved the back-and-forth storytelling between "Then" and "Now."  Sometimes this can be confusing in books, but Perez makes it completely effective in the story.
  • The title is great!  In my opinion, the knife represents cutting deep and the graphic parts of life; the butterfly represents hope and loyalty.  Both of these were integral in this book (and in gangs in general, right?).

What I Didn't Love:
  • It was a little slow-moving for me (until the end!), which is probably because I didn't find many of the characters very likeable.  Even though the book is pretty short, I found myself taking longer to read it.
  • Yes, this is a gang book, so there definitely needs to be cussing.  But wow--so much cussing!  Although I kind of appreciate it now since I've met Ashley and know that she really was depicting a character--she is so sweet and bubbly that I couldn't mistake her and Azael any day!
 My favorite quote: "Everybody here acts like they're going to have to pay a hundred bucks for every word, that's how hard it is to get anything out of them."

A great read with an exciting ending!

I'll be back tomorrow with another Top Ten Tuesday, and on Wednesday I'll have an outfit based on Azael!  See you then!

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