Friday, December 20, 2019

YA Cult Novel Poignant and Moving

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Although they've grown up together and are the same age, Agnes Little and Honey Harper have very different attitudes about life at Mount Blessing.  Agnes follows the rules at their religious commune with exactness, wanting to impress not just God but also Emmanuel, their leader.  Honey Harper, the only orphan at Mount Blessing, has no such desire.  She despises rules, Emmanuel's strict leadership, and the cloistered life they lead.  Honey longs for the things she sees on her forbidden t.v.—chic clothes, fast food, and public school.  

When Agnes' grandmother makes a surprise visit to Mount Blessing, she witnesses an alarming practice that no one outside the community is supposed to know about.  Already shocked, Nana Pete is even more disturbed when Agnes' little brother sustains a serious injury that Emmanuel refuses to have checked by a medical professional.  Not able to take anymore, Nana Pete hustles her two grandkids and Honey into her car and makes a run for it.  As the three kids leave behind everything they've ever known, they are forced to forge a new future.  Honey may crave the experience, but Agnes is scared to death.  Can she make a new life away from her family and community?

Having grown up in a religious commune, Cecilia Galante brings an insider's view to The Patron Saint of Butterflies, her first YA novel.  Although the book doesn't bring anything really new or different to the cult escapee genre, it still tells a poignant and compelling story.  The main characters are sympathetic; I definitely cared about them and wanted good things to happen for them.  Although Galante's portrayal of a community of faith is sensitive in many ways, it makes it clear that violent extremism is absolutely not okay.  The touching story teaches some valuable lessons about faith, friendship, and finding your way in a new world.  I liked it.


Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought an e-copy of The Patron Saint of Butterflies from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, this sounds like a tough one but worth reading. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think readers are always intrigued by cults, religious communities, etc so this one should do well.

    ReplyDelete

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