Review: The Fall of Butterflies

Andrea Portes - The Fall of Butterflies
Published: May 10, 2016 by HarperTeen
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 386
Find on: Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads
Rating: 3.5/5

We Were Liars meets Looking for Alaska in a uniquely funny and heartbreaking teen novel about a passionate-yet-doomed friendship set against a backdrop of wealth and glamour.

Willa Parker, 646th and least-popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life. Did she choose this life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa’s life is easy. It’s her famous genius mother’s idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and Willa has no intention of fitting in. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit in. When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel Remy spinning right out of her grasp.

Andrea Portes, author of the hilarious, heartbreaking Anatomy of a Misfit, spins a similarly incandescent, heartfelt story that explores the meaning of friendship, new beginnings, and the precarious joy and devastating pain of finding home in a place—a person—with wings.
Willa Parker is far from likable. She's judgmental. In the opening chapter, she introduces her clique as "Peanut Allergy Boy, Headgear Girl, and OCD." Don't get me wrong, I was tempted to DNF. She's the type of person who never says the right thing. So when her mother, who she is mostly estranged from, decides to pay for her tuition to an elite private school, she decides to attend for the giggles.

There, she meets Remy Taft, the richest girl in all the land. She smokes "real cigarettes" and dresses quirkily. Everyone is taken by her, so when Remy decides to take Willa under her wing, the student body combusts with envy.

But there's one problem. Remy and her friends partake in heavy drug usage. They take ecstasy, MDMA, and drink themselves lucid. Willa decides to join in, due to peer pressure. And when Remy's addiction blossoms into something uglier, she realizes it may be impossible to fix her friend's longstanding issue.

Willa attempts to hook up with the local douchebag, Milo. Remy introduces him as the hotdawg on campus, but Willa practically describes him as "Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer's Club." Somehow, the failed ship of Willa/Milo is forced upon us and it's enough to nauseate me into next week. I preferred her with Zeb, but he had a girlfriend.

Remy also tends to disappear for numerous pages at a time (i.e. doesn't answer her phone, skips class) and it's never questioned. Not even the faculty touches upon the subject. Whenever Willa would bring it up, Remy would laugh it off. Even though this is boarding school and I've never been, I did finish high school and if you missed a day, they would send your parent an automated voicemail to let them you were absent that day, and if they were aware of that. If they weren't, you'd be in deep shit.

I have a feeling, this'll be a hit-or-miss type of novel with people. I adore Andrea Portes's style of writing. I have (maybe) one or two issues with the book itself, but it's so realistic and sad and the ending made me sit and think. I've noticed a few negative-ish reviews already for The Fall of Butterflies, but I genuinely hope people check it out. It's a revelation.