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Juan Pablo and the Butterflies
by jj flowers
Release Date: 05/09/17
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 218
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format ISBN Price
Print 978-1507202142 17.99
Kindle B01N9W11Y2 10.99
Author Page: jj flowers
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Summary Excerpt Comments

Juan Pablo, a brilliant classical violinist, lives in El Rosario, Mexico’s Butterfly sanctuary. His grandmother Elena is the local medicine woman. The story opens with a bang: a group of narco-traffickers have posted banners signaling a takeover of their town. El Rosario is turned into a ghost town, but Juan Pablo must remain, as his grandmother has fallen gravely ill. His best friend Rocio and her grandfather (who owns the local cantina) stay as well, to help Juan Pablo care for the woman they all love. Just before Elena dies, she makes a startling announcement: she tells Juan Pablo it is time for him to follow the migration of the butterflies north--up through Baja into the United States and all the way to Pacific Grove, CA, another butterfly sanctuary, where, she promises, someone will be waiting for him.

Who this is becomes one of the mysteries fueling the novel.

After shooting up the town, the droguistas take over the cantina, demanding food and discovering Rocio hiding in the upstairs apartment. Juan Pablo must save his best friend and the love of his life. In desperation he uses one of his abuela’s poisons and inadvertently kills eight men. An epic chase begins, one that puts Juan Pablo and Rocio in constant danger on the ever so suspenseful and exciting journey north. Did I mention the story rips beginning to end?

A strong spiritual element is woven throughout the narrative, emerging as Elena’s unique, wise and sometimes comical understanding of the world guides our two heroes on the treacherous journey north. The spiritual element provides a strong counterpoint to the devastation, violence and ruined lives brought by the drug cartels operations on both sides of the border.

Praise for Juan Pablo and the Butterflies:
"The novel delves into a variety of hardships … the content is powerful. Flowers delivers a … touching contemporary novel that is … relevant in its treatment of drug-trafficking, immigration, and human rights issues.” (Kirkus Reviews)

In the otherwise quiet butterfly sanctuary of El Rosario, Mexico, Juan Pablo (JP), a thoughtful teen who loves playing his violin, recognizes the sound of drug traffickers that have taken over his town. His abuela, a doctor and naturalist, lies on her deathbed, from which she directs him to follow the butterflies’ migration to Pacific Grove, California. First, though, JP takes desperate measures to save his dearest friend, Rocio, from his town’s violent drug dealers. His actions yield a more dangerous result than anticipated, and JP must use his talent, wit, and abuela’s sage words to get himself and Rocio to safety. A thrilling series of events ensue that keep the reader wondering if the teens will make it to California alive. An abundance of heart-pounding action makes this a page-turner that adroitly deals with immigration, drug trafficking, and human rights issues. The story’s violence is offset by remembered conversations with abuela—both amusing and insightful—and the tender relationship between two young adults who have spent their lives together. (Booklist May 15, 2017)

 

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