The Maps of Memory: Return to Butterfly Hill

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. (Butterfly Hill). Sep. 2020. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481469012.
Gr 5 Up–Six years after the release of the Pura Belpré Award–winning novel, I Lived on Butterfly Hill, Agosín takes readers back to Valparaíso, Chile, in a sequel that attempts to shed further light on life during and after a dictatorship. Set months after the last book ends, readers are transported back to the world of 14-year-old Celeste Marconi, an adventurous though somewhat naive heroine determined to promote literacy, and to find her family and friends who were abducted by the government. Celeste was in exile in Maine for much of the dictator’s rule. Now that she has returned to Chile, readers see a country rebuilding through Celeste’s first-person narration. Though the series is a historical fiction account of the Pinochet regime, names and dates are not mentioned in either book, and the style feels more contemporary in the sequel. Agosín has taken the liberty of compressing the time line, so readers may benefit from a nonfiction pairing to add depth and details that would anchor this story in time. As a sequel, this title relies heavily on its predecessor for character development; minor inconsistencies make the two books feel disjointed. While White’s cartoon style, pen-and-ink drawings feel quite young, the descriptions of torture and allusions to sexual violence are better suited for older readers.
VERDICT Unfortunately, this sequel does little to advance the story line Agosín created, and it misses an opportunity to teach young readers about Chilean history.

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