The Knife and the Butterfly

The Knife and the Butterfly

3.72 (321 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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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.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 216 pages
  • 136 x 190 x 15mm | 244g
  • Minneapolis, United States
  • English
  • 1467716243
  • 9781467716246
  • 2,119,730

Review quote

Martin 'Azael' Aravelo wakes up one day and finds himself locked in a jail cell. The 15-year-old struggles to recount the still-hazy last few days: 'I've got no memory of being brought in here... it's like my brain's a jacked-up DVD player that skips back again and again.' There was a fight between Azael's MS13 boys and some punks from rival Houston gang Crazy Crew, but Azael can remember only a few details--his brother Eddie's blue shirt, a flash of red clothing, someone's hands covered in blood. So why is he behind bars? And what is the connection between the girl he is being made to observe--some white girl he has never seen before--and him? Short chapters alternate between 'Now' and 'Then, ' doling out clues in small bursts and generating a fast pace. Azael is a dynamic and sympathetic main character with an authentic voice. On the other hand, Lexi--the object of Azael's study--is not wholly believable. The author's choice to have Azael (and readers) digest large chunks of plot through her journal hinders the pacing at times, while the trite way in which Lexi often writes fails to match up with her character's streetwise persona. Still, Pérez sets up the mystery well enough in the story's first act to overcome any inconsistency in character, making this hard-hitting novel an assured success in libraries serving high school students. --School Library Journal-- "Journal" (2/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)
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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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