Title: The Patron Saint of Butterflies
Author: Cecilia Galante
Summary: At Mount Blessing, a religous commune in Fairfield, Connecticut, Agnes strives to become more like the saints she adores by fasting, praying, and accepting the discipline of Emmanuel, the spiritual guru of the ‘Believers.’ Like the rest of the people who live at Mount Blessing, she is forbidden to listen to music or watch TV, and avoids anything red or orange, including food, because it represents the devil. Her best friend Honey, an orphan abandoned at birth at Mount Blessing, questions Emmanuel’s authority the commune’s strict rules. She often pays the price for her defiance.
One spring afternoon as the girls are brought into the secret ‘Regulation Room’ for discipline, Agnes’ grandmother Nana Pete arrives. When Nana Pete learns about the beatings Agnes, Honey, and any Believer who steps out of line receives, she decides to take the girls and her grandson Benny from the commune. While Honey is thrilled, Agnes is distraught: If it was so hard to be saintly at Mount Blessing, how can she possibly stay good in the big, wicked world? As this book progresses, secrets are revealed, and choices are made that threaten to drive best friends and families apart.
Who will like this book?: It is rare to find such a thoughtful book about the impact of faith on young teens lives, so this book is recommended for any reader interested in that topic, as well as anyone looking for serious books about friendship.
If you like this, try this: Leap of Faith by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher. Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian