Book Reviews

review; my fate according to the butterfly

Title: My Fate According To The Butterfly
Author: Gail D. Villanueva
Genre: MG, contemporary
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic Press

When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her – on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.

If Sab’s going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she’ll have to overcome her fears – of her sister’s anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom – and figure out the cause of their rift.

So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family’s past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won’t speak to their father. But Sab’s adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult – and dangerous – than she ever anticipated.

Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all!

I received this copy in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you Scholastic!

This took longer than expected for me to finish. Not because it wasn’t good – it was great! It was emotional and character driven and hard hitting. But because I fell into a slump due to outside circumstances and couldn’t pick this up again for a while.

I’m not familiar with Filipino myths, but the one about the black butterfly is fascinating to me now. I love the innocence of the belief Sab has in this myth, the way it is woven through her actions and her deeds. She truly believes in this, and so it colours everything that happens.

Sab is a strong character. A little bit naive, which is understandable given her age, and very trusting of the people in her lives. Having to watch her lose some of that innocence is painful, but realistic. I loved her relationship with her best friend Pepper – and the way the author tackles colourism without making it too explicit; through the lenses of a child. Her relationship with her sister frustrated me at times, but I’m not sure who I felt more for, Sab or Ate Nadine? I’ve been the older sister in the situation, but also, Sab’s beliefs and thoughts did not deserve to be dismissed. Still, they were wonderful, and the three of them were written very well.

This was a hard subject to tackle, in my opinion, and it was done really well. It was simple and straight-forward, and we learn as Sab does, and I think we need more books like this.

I cannot wait for more of Gail’s writing.

I’m Ara, a Southeast Asian writer who someday hopes to have published a novel, and who is currently losing herself in the worlds created by others. I love books and food and television and blogging and I get distracted and sidetracked easily.

2 Comments

  • Olivia Roach

    I hadn’t heard of this book before but I am really loving that cover and the art on it! And I am more interested in Filippino culture and myths since I read Patron Saints of Nothing. It sounds like this one was direct, simply written and very straightforward, but still so good. Which is why I am interested in it now!!

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