My Fate According to The Butterfly: Which I Learnt About The Philippines || A Book Review

My Fate According to the Butterfly (ARC)

Author: Gail D. Villanueva

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Released: July 30th, 2019

Genre: Children/Middle Grade, Contemporary

Pages: 240

Format: Paperback (ARC)

Characters: Sab(Sabrina), Ate Nadine, Pepper, Kuya Jepoy, …

When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her — on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.

If Sab’s going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she’ll have to overcome her fears — of her sister’s anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom — and figure out the cause of their rift.

So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family’s past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won’t speak to their father. But Sab’s adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult — and dangerous — than she ever anticipated.

Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all!

Source: Goodreads

Growing up, I’ve watched few Philippines TV series and know how the language, Tagalog sounds like. I even tried to imitate the accent and to speak the language. You can’t imagine how excited I was when I knew the existence of this book. I requested it on Edelweiss and to join blog tours, but I was not approved for any of that. However, miraculously, Scholastic Press sent me an ARC of this book right to my door. Talk about being lucky! With that, I thank Scholastic Press for making my dream come true.

Enough of me fangirling, here is some of my thoughts on My Fate According to the Butterfly. Written from a child’s perspective, this book was clearly written for younger audience. But, it has so much potential and important messages. Firstly, this book highlights on drug abuse issue and the impacts of drug abuse on our loved ones. It was written beautifully and not only through Sab’s family, also through the photo exhibition in the later part of the book. I love the family relationship and the warmth of Sab’s family. We Asian family may not always telling one another I Love You every other day and we definitely show love in our own different ways. Sab’s father also is portrayed as bisexual and it didn’t feel like, “oh wow! a representation!”, it felt normal. The way the author has written it made me feel like, “oh okay, the father is bi and it’s perfectly fine.

One of the most important element of this book is the symbolic black butterfly, and other superstitious beliefs in the Philippines. The funny thing is, in Malaysia, we have the same belief. I could highly relate when Sab says that black butterfly could mean death is near or a soul of our loved one who had passed away is visiting us. I truly believe in those things. Every time, I saw a black butterfly, I would think it as my late grandparents. Do you believe in such thing too? Also, I’m so surprised that I found another almost similar superstition in the Philippines, about the Duwendes or dwarfs who live on trees. Like us, in Malaysia, some of us believe that there are spirits who live on trees or in the nature overall, which is why we need to seek for permission if we want to pee near a tree or going into the woods.

The description of places and the food in Philippines is definitely another highlight that attracts me so much. It instantly transported me to the country as I read the book. I wish to visit there one day, but maybe I will pass the MRT haha. I also love the characters, maybe except Sab. I love and hate Sab at the same time. You see, no one is born to be racist or having jealousy towards their friends. But Sab, an 11 year old child, having being influenced by her sister’s words on colonization and society’s mentality towards white people and all the talk about their privileges really made her look at her friend as privileged af ALL THE TIME. This is why I hate her because she constantly thinks ill of her best friend. Pepper doesn’t even aware about her skin colour or their differences. If it’s being mentioned two to three times about how differently people treat Pepper, compared to Sab, I would understand it and as an Asian, I’m aware of this kind of mentality, we look upon white people just because they are white and they are way ahead of us. Instead of that, Sab just keeps on hating her friend secretly while her best friend really stick to her side, even though sometimes she’s ignorant on few things. However, towards the end, there is sort of clarifications, we never asked to be born in certain skin colour, it just happened and we need to start look at each other as an individuals, not look at them by their skin colour. 

Overall, I think this is a really important book for the Filipinos and for others in the world to read and to be educated about Philippines. I can’t emphasize more about how important it is for every kid to read this book and of course the adults should read it too. This book is coming out on the 30th of July this year so make sure you grab a copy once it’s out!

5 thoughts on “My Fate According to The Butterfly: Which I Learnt About The Philippines || A Book Review

  1. The cover is so pretty! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂 I haven’t read a book, much less a middle grade, featuring the Philippines yet so I’ll definitely be adding this one to the TBR!


  2. Wow I’m so glad to know that you’ve watched Filipino shows growing up and that you know how our language sounds! 😭 what Filipino tv series can you remember? I also believe in those superstitions! And LOL it’s right for you not to want to try MRT because riding that is a nightmare lots of Filipinos has to face every day of their lives. Sometimes it’s okay to ride that train but when it’s rush hour and you have to go to work or go home? It’s quite a challenge. Also, I’d love to show you around when you finally visited Philippines!!! 💖 Great review, Jessica.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I have told you before, Marimar is one of the drama I remembered strongly 😂 Haha, it was described so vividly in this book. I hope I will survive the ride if I get the chance one day. That would be so great Karina! Thank you! 💞


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