Second Look: Cecelia Galante’s THE PATRON SAINT OF BUTTERFLIES (2009, PB)

Author: Cecelia Galante
Title: The Patron Saint of Butterflies
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Realistic Fiction

The Story
Based on Galante’s own experience growing up in a commune, TPSOB is the story of two thirteen year old girls (Honey and Agnes) who grow up together in Mount Blessing, CT.  Told in alternating POVs, the story focuses on the realization that not everything is as they are told by their leader, Emmanuel.  Honey, rebellious in nature and an orphan, is at odds with Agnes, her best friend, who wants nothing more than to be a Saint.  When Nana Pete comes to visit unexpectedly, she discovers the things about the commune that she never paid attention to before.  She takes the three children (Honey, Agnes and Benny) away from Mount Blessing. 

The story focuses on Honey’s and Agnes’s responses to leaving the commune and their friendship.

I couldn’t put it down, honestly.  The girls’ voices are unique and give the reader a bigger picture of what life is like in Mount Blessing.  Agnes’s desire to embrace a Saint’s life is paralleled by Honey’s rebellious ways and her “true” version of events of Mount Blessing. 

Galante weaves a secret into the story about Honey’s mother (who left Mount Blessing when she was a baby).  The answers come slowly and through the realization of both girls, the reader is able to come to an understanding, too.

I won’t lie – I cried at the end.  It was so good.  There really was nothing I didn’t like about this book.

Book Group
I suggested this for my YA (more pre-teen) book group to read.  I hope they like it, though it’s different from their usual mystery/action choices.  I also recommended it to the adult book club at our library.  I think it would be interesting to hear a parent’s perspective on the events and how the story plays out.

Star Rating: 9/10


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