The Fall of Butterflies

400p. ebook available. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062313676.
Gr 8 Up—Willa Parker sits at the "freak" table at school and feels that she has a responsibility to take care of the others at the table. Because she "lost it" when defending Peanut Allergy Boy, her genius mother who lives in France and not with Willa and her father, decides to remove her from public school and the small town of Cheer and send her to a prestigious private school in the East. Willa, as to be expected, is not excited about going to Pembroke and leaving home but has no say in the matter. Remy, the first fellow student she meets, dresses strangely, smokes, and is getting yelled at by the head of admissions. She is rich, popular, and everything Willa is not. She also becomes her roommate and good friend, and because of Remy, Willa is quickly accepted at her new school. But being friends with Remy comes with a dangerous price, and as the popular girl spirals out of control, Willa must decide if the friendship is worth the price. The protagonist's voice is vibrant and authentic, and her journey from outcast to member of the in crowd to a mature teen is fraught with drama. The engaging although not always admirable characters, the family dynamics and their effect on the characters, and the resiliency of the spirit make this a thoughtful read.
VERDICT Fans of Chelsey Philpot's Even in Paradise will enjoy this coming-of-age story with emotional appeal.

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