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The Fall of Butterflies
Cover of The Fall of Butterflies
The Fall of Butterflies
Borrow Borrow

We Were Liars meets Looking for Alaska in a uniquely funny and heartbreaking teen novel about a passionate-yet-doomed friendship set against a backdrop of wealth and glamour.

Willa Parker, 646th and least-popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life. Did she choose this life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa's life is easy. It's her famous genius mother's idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and Willa has no intention of fitting in. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit in. When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel Remy spinning right out of her grasp.

Andrea Portes, author of the hilarious, heartbreaking Anatomy of a Misfit, spins a similarly incandescent, heartfelt story that explores the meaning of friendship, new beginnings, and the precarious joy and devastating pain of finding home in a place—a person—with wings.

We Were Liars meets Looking for Alaska in a uniquely funny and heartbreaking teen novel about a passionate-yet-doomed friendship set against a backdrop of wealth and glamour.

Willa Parker, 646th and least-popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life. Did she choose this life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa's life is easy. It's her famous genius mother's idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and Willa has no intention of fitting in. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit in. When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel Remy spinning right out of her grasp.

Andrea Portes, author of the hilarious, heartbreaking Anatomy of a Misfit, spins a similarly incandescent, heartfelt story that explores the meaning of friendship, new beginnings, and the precarious joy and devastating pain of finding home in a place—a person—with wings.

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About the Author-
  • Andrea Portes is the bestselling novelist of two critically lauded adult novels, Hick, her debut, which was made into a feature film starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Alec Baldwin, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, and Juliette Lewis, and Bury This. Her first novel for young adult readers, Anatomy of a Misfit, was called "perfection in book form" by Teen Vogue. Her other YA novels include The Fall of Butterflies and Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me. Andrea Portes's spooky, timeless middle grade debut is Henry & Eva and the Castle on the Cliff.

    Andrea grew up on the outskirts of Lincoln, Nebraska. Later, she attended Bryn Mawr College. Currently she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Sandy Tolan, their son, Wyatt, and their dog, Rascal. You can visit her online at www.andreaportes.squarespace.com.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 7, 2016
    As with Anatomy of a Misfit (2014), Portes’s second YA novel has a seductive zaniness and almost unstoppable exuberance. Sixteen-year-old Willa Parker, a small-town girl and native Iowan, reluctantly heads east to a fancy New England boarding school, where she meets Remy Taft, an infamous student from a famous family, who adopts Willa like she’s a wide-eyed puppy. Though it takes some wading through Willa’s mile-a-minute internal monologue in the opening chapters, once her adventures with Remy begin, the story turns into a heartfelt, hilarious thrill. Willa’s dry observations can be laugh-out-loud funny (“I’m not sure what the cutoff point is for gyrating in sparkly clothes, but I can tell you some of these people are really pushing it,” she says of the crowd at a Brooklyn club). But Willa’s early announcement of a plan to kill herself and other foreshadowing hint that Portes’s characters are careening toward tragedy, with Remy at the center of a brewing storm. Willa’s memorable voice and humor, as well as her longing to cultivate relationships that will anchor her more firmly to the world, will linger with readers. Ages 14–up.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2016

    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.-Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, Denton

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 15, 2016
    See the girl on the train, the white one "with the frizzy red hair and funny mouth"? That's 16-year-old Willa Parker. Willa has a simple two-point plan: move to the East Coast...and kill herself. Willa leaves her hometown of What Cheer, Iowa (you heard that right), to attend The Pembroke School and (presumably) go on to Princeton, because her wealthy economist mother (who divorced Willa's father and left them with nothing) says she "should." Willa's plan is derailed when she meets the ultraprivileged, uber-hip Remy Taft (yes, related to the president), the oddly friendless queen of Pembroke. The girls develop a close friendship, complete with witty-cute banter, a late-night joy ride on a stolen golf cart, and frequent Ecstasy trips. As Remy pushes Willa out of her comfort zone, Willa forgets her suicide plan, but it soon becomes apparent self-absorbed Remy has several secrets of her own. As Willa tries to save her best friend from destroying herself, she's also figuring out whether or not she's neighboring Witherspoon Prep hottie Milo Hesse's girlfriend. Surrounded by wealth, Willa often questions the unfairness of privilege; her scholarship status and Midwest origins often make her feel inferior and out of place. Her first-person narration is self-deprecating, deeply thoughtful, and thoroughly funny, with a sometimes-chiding direct address that pulls readers into her confidence. Snarky and painfully astute. But in a good way. (Fiction. 15-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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