THE PATRON SAINT OF BUTTERFLIES

Agnes fasts and self-mutilates to emulate the martyrs depicted in her copy of The Saints’ Way, while orphaned Honey would rather contemplate the beauty of butterflies than the religious rhetoric they have been forced to follow from their oppressive leader, Emmanuel. Despite their differences, these 14-year-old girls share an unbreakable bond, having spent their entire lives as Believers at Mount Blessing, a religious commune in Connecticut. When Agnes’s Nana Pete pays a surprise visit, she learns about the girls’ treatment in the Regulation Room and witnesses Emmanuel’s “miraculous healing” of Agnes’s little brother, Benny, when tragedy strikes. As the three children escape with Nana Pete, Agnes and Honey discover their true beliefs and a secret that will unite them forever. Although debut author Galante, who was also born and raised in a religious commune, leaves a few inconsistencies in her writing, her dramatic storytelling will pique teens’ curiosity. Readers will be amazed by Agnes and Honey’s strength to enter a brave new world of Big Macs and automatic doors—and independence and unconditional love. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59990-249-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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WHAT THE MOON SAW

When Clara Luna, 14, visits rural Mexico for the summer to visit the paternal grandparents she has never met, she cannot know her trip will involve an emotional and spiritual journey into her family’s past and a deep connection to a rich heritage of which she was barely aware. Long estranged from his parents, Clara’s father had entered the U.S. illegally years before, subsequently becoming a successful business owner who never spoke about what he left behind. Clara’s journey into her grandmother’s history (told in alternating chapters with Clara’s own first-person narrative) and her discovery that she, like her grandmother and ancestors, has a gift for healing, awakens her to the simple, mystical joys of a rural lifestyle she comes to love and wholly embrace. Painfully aware of not fitting into suburban teen life in her native Maryland, Clara awakens to feeling alive in Mexico and realizes a sweet first love with Pedro, a charming goat herder. Beautifully written, this is filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. Add a thrilling adventure and all the makings of an entrancing read are here. (glossaries) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-73343-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.

10 BLIND DATES

Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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