The Knife and the Butterfly

The Knife and the Butterfly

3.72 (321 ratings by Goodreads)
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After a marijuana-addled brawl with a rival gang, 16-year-old Azael wakes up to find himself surrounded by a familiar set of concrete walls and a locked door. Juvie again, he thinks. But he can't really remember what happened or how he got picked up. He knows his MS13 boys faced off with some punks from Crazy Crew. There were bats, bricks, chains. A knife. But he can't remember anything between that moment and when he woke behind bars.

Azael knows prison, and something isn't right about this lockup. No phone call. No lawyer. No news about his brother or his homies. The only thing they make him do is watch some white girl in some cell. Watch her and try to remember.

Lexi Allen would love to forget the brawl, would love for it to disappear back into the Xanax fog it came from. And her mother and her lawyer hope she chooses not to remember too much about the brawl--at least when it's time to testify.

Lexi knows there's more at stake in her trial than her life alone, though. She's connected to him, and he needs the truth. The knife cut, but somehow it also connected.

-- "Journal"
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 210 pages
  • 142 x 198 x 23mm | 340g
  • Minneapolis, United States
  • English
  • 0761361561
  • 9780761361565
  • 2,329,574

Review quote

The last thing gangbanger Azael remembers is he and his Salvadorian MS-13 brothers brutally kicking the asses of a rival Houston gang called the Crazy Crew. Then he wakes up in a strange jail where his charges are not explained and the only punishment--if you want to call it that--is observing through a one-way window a girl he doesn't know named Lexi, who is preparing for some kind of trial of her own. Any reader who has been around the block is going to see this novel's final twist coming right from the start. But that's a minor issue, as Pérez's concerns are centered around the gritty day-to-day struggles of both hardened, cynical, uncooperative teens to break through their respective emotional walls. Half the book is spent in flashback to Azael's former life, and it's an unvarnished, unsentimental portrait of a vulgar, sex-obsessed, drug-using, paint-tagging gang member whose inkling to go straight revolves around the girlfriend to whom he can't quite commit. An uncompromising look at two characters most readers would otherwise look away from. --Booklist

-- "Journal"
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Rating details

321 ratings
3.72 out of 5 stars
5 26% (82)
4 35% (111)
3 30% (95)
2 7% (23)
1 3% (10)
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