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The Butterfly Revolution

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  542 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Welcome to High Pines Summer Camp for Boys. There is hiking, swimming, canoeing--and a revolution led by General Frank. He promises change for the better, but little by little, he begins to change, and the revolution turns into a nightmare....
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 12th 1986 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1961)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  542 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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I have a hard time separating this book from my own literary and emotional development. While most people were required to read Lord of the Flies, I was required to read this book. I liked it better than Lord of the Flies because it doesn't have the duex en machina ending. As a thirteen-year-old, the book left a deep impression on me, but that may be because it was more intense in content than anything else I'd read. To this day, there are '80s pop songs that put me right back into how I felt wh ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Loved it as a kid, couldn't finish it as an adult. ...more
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it
True confession time: this book got on my radar after watching an exceptionally bad '80s movie adaptation of the story called Summer of Fear. However, I saw that movie fresh off of reading Lord of the Flies and it made an impression. I never was able to find a copy in my public library and it was out of print for ages, so I just happened upon it this past year when it became available through

Was it worth the wait? Yes and no.

Butterfly Revolution is built on a great concept:
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, books-i-own
When I started reading this book, I was just trying to finish it so I could give it away. I bought it in either junior high or high school, and I don’t think I had read it since. I didn’t even really remember it.

And really, the first 3/4 of the book was reasonably tedious for 63-year-old me. But the last quarter… The author uses the words of young teenagers to bring fresh light to political philosophies. Things for me to chew on. I’m keeping the book.
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Printable Tire
Apr 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: young adults
This book was terrible and an obvious rip-off of Lord of the Flies. I don't remember why it was terrible, but I remember it WAS terrible. And the movie's not much better, but it IS better. ...more
Leonard Pierce
Nov 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Passable "Lord of the Flies" knockoff with most of the ethical speculation removed, and one of the few young adult novels I've read not as a young adult. ...more
Paul Dubuc
"Lord of the Flies" was better. ...more
Alex Andrasik
Written in the form of one sensitive and intellectual boy's journal, this book in the tradition of "Lord of the Flies" chronicles the inevitable breakdown of a poorly-conceived revolution at a kids' summer camp. When some of the older boys chafe at the safe, packaged activities of the camp, epitomized by a much-derided outing to collect butterflies, one smart and ambitious teen takes it upon himself to take over in the name of "fun." What follows is a quickly deteriorating mix of Soviet-style ru ...more
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book, written in the form of a journal kept by a 10 yr. old at camp. The author creates a lot of unnecessary distraction with trying to keep the 10 yr. old bias. The book can really be, and should be read between the lines.
Upon reading other reviews on Goodreads, I am struck by the fact that no one seems to have picked up on the religious drone of the book. I think that it is too easy to compare this to Lord of the Flies, and ultimately wrong. This goes much deeper into
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Young Winston Weyn Vs The Granfallooners

At the time this novel was published (1961), I'm sure it had many parents foaming at the mouth. The book has a great many things for young minds to think about- Honestly there are more than a few adults in my life I'd like to have read this book and really think on what it has to say about nationalistic themes and consider how much of their personal beliefs are based on choices they have made versus instances where they have just simply chosen to follow ot
Karina Santander
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
The entire book is told through the journal entries of narrator & 13-year-old camper Winston Weyn. He is a well-read young man who struggles to connect with his peers because of his superior intelligence & fondness for rules and structure. It was an interesting read & for such an old book it does bring about current issues & interesting thoughts. I did enjoy it.
R.W. Biga
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Bought the book after I saw the movie "Summer Camp Nightmare". That movies is based off of this. It is a simple story but it shows an idea that was probably not as believable as it would be today. I would recommend this is anyone wants to read about youth rebellion. ...more
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Moral of the story: Keep a freaking journal.

Also don't read this just before going to sleep.
Gino Sorcinelli
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Butterfly Revolution by William Butler is an excellent book that was first released in 1961 and is now forgotten by most readers. I found the book at my neighborhood thrift store for a quarter and went in with minimal expectations. I was sucked into the story in an instant, enjoyed the entire book a great deal, and was satisfied with the conclusion. The book tells the tale of a camper revolt and takeover at High Pines Summer Camp for Boys. The revolution is lead by one of the older campers, ...more
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I may be one of the only reviewers of this book who read this as an adult. I don't know if I'll have a different take on it, but unlike many reviewers who immediately compare it to Lord of the Flies, I actually feel it's more similar to Catcher in the Rye. Yes, a camp is taken over by kids who promptly lose control, and yes there is death; but to me the book was really about a kid who is trying to find answers and meaning in a world that is quickly losing any semblance of sanity. The main charac ...more
Ian Spiro
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teenagers
I felt that the ending was a little lacking, but otherwise a great read. This made an easy read for my recent vacation travel.
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This was a clear cut "3 star" book until the last 80 pages or so, and then it was so good I just couldn't (well, didn't want to) put it down.

It is the story of a group of boys at camp, who decide that they do not want to be told what to do anymore. Very Lord of the Flies-esque....but I think this one might even be better?

The narrator is Win, a book nerd (woo!) who is reading about the political philosophies of Thorough, Mill, Jefferson...and Marx, which gets him labeled as a communist.

Really g
Aug 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
This novel is the tale of a revolution where the kids take over a Summer Camp. Filled with a political commentary, it tries to be like Orwell's 1984 or Animal Farm. The cover says that Butler "avoids being overshadowed by...Orwell." Bull. It was OK, but just OK. It's a little too heavy-handed with the allegory and even throws in that the main character carries a book of political philosophy and starts quoting from it. If you really like Orwellian-style fiction like me, it may be worth a read, bu ...more
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thought that this was a great book. This book was a little slow to start but I couldn't put it down towards the end. Great character development, awesome plot, fleshed out, and a striking concept made even more striking in the fact it is actually possible of happening, this book is great for anyone who likes reading about revolution. My only gripe is that it's diction could have been more interesting. It used a lot of bland words. Other than that this is an excellent read for anyone interested ...more
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
The first few chapters really hooked me in. Then the book started to lose its pull. I liked the book but only wish it would have kept my interest like the beginning did.
The book reminds me of animal farm.
I read animal farm in school and then again when I was older. I understood the book much better with age. I think if I would have read The Butterfly revolution in school I would have been able to relate to it better than animal farm and understood the political meaning behind the story line.
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: society, teen, dystopian
Similar to Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, or 1984. Teenagers in a summer camp get bored by the childish and repetitive activities and decide to take things in their hands - locking away teachers and introducing a military-like leadership, aspiring for an utopian and fulfilling holiday. However, problems appear and things head for tragedy very soon. An amazing book with lots of questions about politics, religion, and society.
Sean Moore
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Mrs. Thomas, my 10th grade English teacher, pulled this off the shelf and asked me to read it--just me. There was a teacher who truly knew me. I'm not sure whether this is a take on Animal Farm, Won't Get Fooled Again, or just life in general. Nerdy kid goes to camp, other kids decide to take over camp from adults, things go fine at first but quickly deteriorate, cops and parents show up ... ...more
Jack Gillespie
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great book; same genre as "Lord of the Flies" if you like that type of book. Scary to think of what young people are capable of and how quickly things can really get out of control because of the power of a bad influence. Suggested by my 7th grade Literature teacher and I really enjoyed the book.
La Donna
Jun 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a bizarre journey of teenagers thinking they can do just as well as adults. Truly a revolution. I read it when I was 12. I don't know anyone, outside of family, who has read it. It is probably out-of-date now. I find it in the library every now and then. ahhh, the 70's. ...more
Apr 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Amy by: Jon
Recommended by my husband as it made an impact on him when he read it in high school. Re-read 20 years later, he admitted it wasn't what he remembered. I was only able to get 1/3 through before setting it aside. ...more
Nicole Diamond
Nov 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
If it has one star I liked it a lot
If it has two stars I liked it a lot and would recommend it
If it has three stars I really really liked it a lot
If it has four stars I insist you read it
If it has five stars it was life changing
Trisha Owens
Mar 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a good book...probably not as well known as others like it, such as Animal Farm or Lord of the Flies. This tale is similar in many ways, but nonetheless, has a message for us all within its pages.
May 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
A selection from the syllabus of Mrs. D'Agostino's 9th grade English class ...more
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