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My Fate According to the Butterfly

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
My Fate According to the Butterfly Book Poster Image
Emotional tale of family, forgiveness, and drug addiction.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The book thoughtfully tackles tough topics including the war on drugs in the Philippines, drug addiction, and recovery. Readers will also learn about Filipino superstitions as well as words and phrases in Tagalog.

Positive Messages

Communication, courage, and compassion are important themes. You're never alone. Sometimes people make bad choices, but that doesn't mean they're bad people. Take fate into your own hands.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sab is surrounded by friends and family who love and support her. She finds the courage to overcome her fears and help her family reconcile. Ate Nadine is passionate and committed to social justice issues. Sab's mom reassures her that she isn't responsible for a family member's relapse. Pepper and Kuya Jepoy are great friends to Sab.

Violence

Gunshots are heard during a police raid.

Sex
Language

Mild insults include "jerk" and "brat."

Consumerism

Brands and pop culture mentions include Chuck, Justin Bieber, Harry Potter, Hello Kitty, and DuckTales.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The plot revolves around the war on drugs in the Philippines, addiction, and recovery. One of the characters is a recovering drug addict.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Fate According to the Butterfly is a suspenseful and emotional middle-grade novel about a superstitious 10-year-old girl named Sab Dulce, who believes she has a week left to live after seeing a giant black butterfly. The book thoughtfully tackles tough topics including the war on drugs in the Philippines, drug addiction, and recovery. Readers will also learn about Filipino superstitions as well as words and phrases in Tagalog. Gunshots are fired during a police raid and mild insults include "jerk" and "brat."

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What's the story?

MY FATE ACCORDING TO THE BUTTERFLY tells the story of superstitious 10-year-old Sab Dulce, who believes she has a week left to live after seeing a giant black butterfly. In preparation for her death, which would fall on her 11th birthday, Sab decides she wants to spend her last day with her entire family. There's just one problem: Sab doesn't know why her sister, Nadine, hasn't spoken to their dad in a year. With the help of her best friend, Pepper, Sab starts spying on Nadine to see if she can figure out what happened between them. Can she reunite her family and repair their broken relationship before it's too late?

Is it any good?

This suspenseful and emotional tale thoughtfully tackles tough topics including the Philippines' drug war, addiction, and recovery, while emphasizing the power of family, friendship, and forgiveness. There aren't many books that describe the drug war and its aftermath from a kid's perspective, but My Fate According to the Butterfly does an excellent job of explaining these issues in a kid-friendly way. Sab shares a poignant moment with her mom, who explains how addiction is a disease while reassuring her that a family member's relapse wasn't her fault.

Readers will love Sab and Pepper's supportive friendship as well as Nadine's passion and commitment to social justice issues. The heartwarming conclusion shows Sab taking her fate into her own hands while highlighting the importance of communication, courage, and compassion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the war on drugs in the Philippines affects the characters in My Fate According to the Butterfly. Did you know about it before you read this book? Do you think it should be more widely discussed in school?

  • Is Filipino superstition new to you? What did you learn? Where can you learn more?

  • How do the characters demonstrate communicationcourage, and compassion? Why are these important character strengths?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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