Friday, February 24, 2012

The Knife and the Butterfly by Ashley Hope Perez

After a huge gang fight between Azael's MS-13, and a rival gang, 16-year-old Azael wakes up to a familiar sight--juvie.  Or is it?  No lawyer, no phone call, and no news about his brother. The only thing they make him do is watch some white girl he doesn't know and remember what happened.

Lexi Allen has no trouble remembering the fight, but her family and lawyers would love it if she could choose to forget it once it's time to testify.  She may be the key to Azael's understanding of what happened. There's a connection intertwined between them that goes deeper than they could both imagine.  Will Azael be able to figure out what happened before it's too late?  Can Lexi sort through what's right and what's wrong?
At first, I was a bit apprehensive about this book because of the language. Azael uses a lot of swear words and likes to describe girls in a rough manner. Not to mention that there were a lot of Spanish phrases that I did not understand, having never taken Spanish before. Then I realized that it was all part of the character. Perez does a beautiful job getting into Azael's head, and had she not used this language, Azael would not be believable.
The whole book is rather like a mystery trying to figure out what happened during the gang fight, and once I finished, I read it again and was able to pick up clues. The ending was absolutely beautiful, and immediately I gave the book to my English teacher to read because I really think she will like it. The chapters switch between then and now, so the reader finds out more of Azael's past along the way and what caused his tough life. Through his past, the reader is able to find Azael's lovable side of the boy who's just trying to survive. Even the disrespectful Lexi has a heart, and I came to love her, too.

I loved this book so much. If it were a movie, it would probably be rated R because of the profanity and gang violence, but it would be powerful enough to get nominated for an Academy Award. I would recommend this book to anyone, and think it should be read in school. And I will say it again, the ending is beautiful!
There was a lot of swearing and some slang descriptions of girls that would be a little disrespectful to someone who may not be OK with that. 

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Gearhart, Oregon United States