The Knife and The Butterfly by Ashley Hope Perez
16 yr old Azael lives in Houston and is a member of the MS-13 gang. The day after a fight with another gang, Azael wakes up in lock up and he can't remember how he got there. The chapters alternate between now and then. In the now Azael is in jail trying to remember the fight. He finds himself thinking about his girlfriend Becca and worry about his brother Eddie and the other MS 13 members. In the now Azael is also introduced to Lexi, a White girl he swears he doesn't know. Though Azael quickly learns Lexi might be the key to understanding what happened. In the then, we learn more about Azael, including his passion and love for graffiti art and why he joined a gang in the first place. Azael and Lexi are two very different people, who find themselves in a similar situation. As the story develops both are forced to make life changing decisions.
This is only Perez's second novel though it's clear she already has a talent for creating three dimensional main characters. The reader is allowed to see the many sides of Azeal has he contemplates his future. Then there's Lexi, I didn't know what to make of her at first and by the end I was moved by how the two characters stories intersected. As you can probably already tell I really enjoyed The Knife and the Butterfly and its a wonderful follow up to the author's excellent debut, What Can't Wait.
Read Chapter 1
I will be posting an interview with Ashley Hope Perez tomorrow as a part of her ongoing blog tour. The interview is on the long side but this couldn't be helped because I took the opportunity to ask Perez's her opinion on the recent events in Tuscon. For that question I told Ashley length was not an issue.