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The Knife and the Butterfly Hardcover – February 1, 2012

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ashley Hope Pérez grew up in Texas and served in the Teach for America Corps in Houston. She has worked as a translator and is completing a PhD in comparative literature. She spends most of her time reading, writing, and teaching college classes on vampire literature and Latin-American women writers. Kirkus called her first novel, What Can't Wait, 'Un magnífico debut.' Ashley lives in Indiana with her husband, Arnulfo, and their son, Liam Miguel.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761361561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761361565
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ashley Hope Pérez is the author of two young adult novels, WHAT CAN'T WAIT and THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY. Read excerpts of her books, find teaching resources, and follow her blog from www.ashleyperez.com.

Currently Pérez lives in Paris with her husband and son where they enjoy culture, croissants, and cramped living quarters.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book grabbed a hold of me from the very first page and if I am being completely honest, it still has a hold over me even days after reading it. I first fell in love with Ashley's writing after reading What Can't Wait. I learned that she has this impeccable ability to tie in beautiful, hopeful stories while also keeping it entertaining and realistic. The Knife and the Butterfly will anger you, make you happy, break your heart, and then put it together again. It is one emotional roller coaster of a book that is 100% worth your time.

The story follows Azael, a 15-year-old boy who wakes up in a cell with no recollection of how he got there. To add to his utter confusion, this lock-up is not quite like the others he's encountered. He doesn't have a set schedule, he sometimes gets to talk to a few guards but they hardly ever release information, and he spends his days watching Lexi, a girl he knows absolutely nothing about. Lexi's story is complicated and intertwined with Azael's somehow and I spent the whole book trying to figure out just how. I love that we are learning the events of his incarceration right along with him. Every confusing moment, every new clue, every elusive comment is there to help us piece together Azael's whole story.

The book is separated into "now" and "then" chapters and it is through this that we learn all about Azael's tough childhood like the death of his mother and the deportation of his father. Azael and his brother Eddie spent their days hiding from Child Protective Services, scrounging for food, and trying to survive the gang life. Ashley paints a portrait of a very sad and depressing childhood but it is one that must be painted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Kristin Anderson on March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
There are a lot of heart-wrenching books out there. But there's something special about THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY. The latest by Ashley Hope Perez, this novel is artfully written, with a voice that reads so authentic the story feels horrifically real. Horrifically because the narrator is a young boy in jail, awaiting sentencing, and knowing something terrible has gone down. Something that cost a life.

Azael isn't a bad kid. At least, he doesn't think he is. At 16 he's found himself kinda homeless, abandoned by family other than his brother, and running with a gang. The gang is his family, his brother has recently been brought into the fold, he's a wonderful artist and he has a great girl. But his girl, Becca, wishes things were different. She wants Az to go straight, to do right by her. And Az swears he's trying -- he just can't seem to get his head on straight. This is what Azael remembers anyway. In his nearly-bare cell, he only has some partially blacked-out police records and a contraband sketchbook hidden under his mattress to fill in the blanks.

On the other side, there's Lexi. She's also being held, and she's trying not to remember the brawl that got her here. These are two teens that normally wouldn't cross each others paths. And it takes Azael a few "observation" to realize it, but now he knows she knows something. He thinks she's the key to his memory...and possibly his freedom.

THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY is a striking, surprising novel, one to watch later this year during award season. Its a novel that really shook me, and one that I'm excited to have experienced.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Hoover on February 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
What can I say about THE KNIFE AND THE BUTTERFLY? Here are five quick things:

1) It is realistic fiction which is not my most common genre to read, yet...
2) ...once I picked it up, I could not put it down, because...
3) ...the characters are so raw and real, they assert themselves in your mind and don't leave, and...
4) ...even though it is raw, it offers hope for those who grow up in difficult situations, so...
5) ...you should totally read this though-provoking novel. It's deep and it's wonderful.

Highly recommended for boys and girls, 9th grade and up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By YA Lover in Boston on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ashley Hope Perez's 2nd YA novel is definitely more raw than her first. Like other reviewers have said, the characters stay with you and she does an excellent job keeping you in suspense until the very end of the novel regarding how the two characters are connected.

A great addition to YA classroom libraries everywhere!
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By DAC VINE VOICE on February 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
16 yr old Azael lives in Houston and is a member of the MS-13 gang. The day after a fight with another gang, Azael wakes up in lock up and he can't remember how he got there. The chapters alternate between now and then. In the now Azael is in jail trying to remember the fight. He finds himself thinking about his girlfriend Becca and worry about his brother Eddie and the other MS 13 members. In the now Azael is also introduced to Lexi, a White girl he swears he doesn't know. Though Azael quickly learns Lexi might be the key to understanding what happened. In the then, we learn more about Azael, including his passion and love for graffiti art and why he joined a gang in the first place. Azael and Lexi are two very different people, who find themselves in a similar situation. As the story develops both are forced to make life changing decisions.

This is only Perez's second novel though it's clear she already has a talent for creating three dimensional main characters. The reader is allowed to see the many sides of Azeal has he contemplates his future. Then there's Lexi, I didn't know what to make of her at first and by the end I was moved by how the two characters stories intersected. As you can probably already tell I really enjoyed The Knife and the Butterfly and its a wonderful follow up to the author's excellent debut, What Can't Wait.
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