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My Fate According to the Butterfly
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My Fate According to the Butterfly

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  391 ratings  ·  115 reviews
* "Villanueva's debut is a beautiful #ownvoices middle-grade novel. Tough topics are addressed, but warmth and humor... bring lightness to Sab's story. This immersive novel bursts with life." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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 f
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Scholastic Press
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Divine Anas
This is one of the most relevant Filipino books I've read in my life. I cried shamelessly in public reading this ok??? To read an excerpt of this book just click H E R E!

Filipino culture is overridden with toxic traits brought by 333 years of colonialization from the Spaniards and welp, just general “traditional” yet regressive takes that most of the community can’t seem
I truly believe that Gail D. Villanueva is one of the greatest Filipino writers of this generation. Even before we became friends and I discovered what an amazingly sociopolitically aware and critical person Gail is (seriously, I could talk to her about current events for hours), I already knew from reading My Fate According to the Butterfly that Gail’s skill in weaving together the ordinary, and subsequently making something extraordinary out of it, is almost unparalleled.

From the get-go, you c
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
Oh my god THIS BOOK. I love it so much. It captures perfectly how it is to be a Filipino kid living in Metro Manila. And it doesn't stop there, it establishes economic privileges and inequality too, along with colonial mentality. Moreover, the way it examines substance abuse and the war on drugs is so important and moving. I can't help but wish I had this book when I was Sab's age so I could've known better about all this and learned early– I'm so excited for the youth who will get to do so soon ...more

I have so much to catch up on. A review of this fantastic book is one of them! Please, be patient with me.




Made me cry twice.

Review to follow.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
"You can either recognize and understand your privilege so you can make our society better, or you don't and let things stay the same." ...more
Bianca (The Ultimate Fangirl)
Full review up on The Ultimate Fangirl!

My Fate According to the Butterfly is a must-read. It is a heartwarming novel, wonderful and relatable to its very core. With its wonderful and engaging characters paired with an amazing writing style, it is easy to fathom why Gail D. Villanueva is an author for the ages. Such a story speaks volumes when it brought up relevant social issues that are still happening in Filipino society. I can say that it’s definitely a classic to beat. I wish I had rea
I am part of the blog tour being hosted for MFATTB by Kate from Your Tita Kate, Cara from The Little Miss Bookworm, and Shealea from Shut up, Shealea. All thoughts are my honest opinions. And I'll be sharing more fun content on my blog. Check out the full schedule here


Ok, I have a confession to make. When I first picked up this book (after an IG photoshoot, of course, COUGH), I didn't know what I was getting into. I mean, I'm sure I read the summary when I signed up for the tour (...) and I skim
Karlita | Tale Out Loud

What will you do when death is knocking at your door, knowing you don't have much time to live?

In this story, Gail shows how a small creature like a butterfly can make a person reflect on the things that are far more consequential, that sometimes, the simplest things in life like being with your family is a lot important than anything in the world. Like Sab, she realized that she has to value time and make every possible last moment of her life count. She put an effort to know the real reason wh
"My fate isn't in the hands (or wings) of a butterfly, but in my own. Maybe I'll die today or tomorrow. Maybe I won't. Either way, it's time for me to take my fate in my hands again."

oh my goodness

So I suspected I was going to love this book. But I was blown away by just how much. I mean it's a 150-page middle grade, about a 10-year-old. I have not been 10 in a very long time. And that is not a lot of pages. But they pack an emotional punch.

And wow. This book deals eloquently and age-appropriat
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Scholastic Press for an ARC of this book.

Sab thinks she's about to die. She just saw a black butterfly, which her father told her is a omen of death. Her best friend, Pepper, and her sister, Ate Nadine, don't believe it's actually going to happen, but Sab can't help by worry about it. It also happens to be just before her 11th birthday, and what she really wants this year is to find a way to get her dad and sister to start talking again after they mysteriously stopped about a year a
meg ✷
"Determined to reconcile her journalist older sister and their father before her time is up, Sab embarks on a quest that sends her on a collision course with the realities of Manila and the war on drugs."

this is a book based on the philippines. A BOOK BASED ON AND SET IN THE PHILIPPINES. i could cry. like, seriously. i can't wait for 2019.
Remy Lai
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing

The MC is superstitious, which I can totally understand haha, and the real way that the Philippines way of life is portrayed, warts and all, is very very admirable.

Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An incredible debut!
3.5 stars

Ahhh this was another adorable middle grade!! I really loved the way family and complex familiar relationships were explored in this one. I always love a complex family dynamic in a book and I really appreciated the way the family dynamic in this one was handled and I especially loved seeing it from the main character’s point of view. I also adored the main character and I am convinced she deserves the world. Her characterization was incredible!! I do wish that we had gotten more explor
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, middle-grade
My Fate According to the Butterfly is a middle grade story set in Manila that follows ten year old Sab as she tries to figure out why her older sister had a falling out with their dad. This had some surprisingly mature content for a book where the protagonist is 10. Drug addiction, police violence, politics, colonization, racism/colorism, and death are all touched upon within the story.

These aren’t faults, but I think that for adult readers the “reveals” are pretty obvious and some of the messa
Neil (or bleed)
Jun 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

A straightforward read about the importance of family, superstition and socio-political struggle in the Philippines.

Review soon.
Kath Lau
Check out my Blog Tour post here.

My Fate According to the Butterfly is a middle grade fiction novel set in the Philippines. Sab, our main character, admires his father a lot. He inspires her to be an artist just like him. She believes everything he says including the one about the big black butterfly being an omen of death. When this butterfly appears and lands on her locket few days before her eleventh birthday, she knows that she has to make every second of her remaining life counts. She wants
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
To be honest, the first time I saw the book I wasn't interested at all as I don't do Middle Grade except Rick Riordan. But when I learned that the author is Filipino, I told myself "Carmel, you  should definitely read and support it."

Here in the Philippines, it is common that when you saw a butterfly it is more likely that someone is going to die or bad things will happen. Sabrina or Sab is a 10 year old character in the story that believes she is going to die because she saw a black butterfly i
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m very much pleased to say that this book is one of the few books that was able to portray the realities of living in the Philippines really well. Hands down on that part. At first, you might think “oh this is just some sort of contemporary book” and it’s okay. You’re entitled to your own wrong opinion. Kidding aside!! My Fate According to the Butterfly is so much more than that. The author deserves an applause for confronting a lot of timely issues in an appropriate manner in the book. Gail D ...more
MCZ Reads
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway-winners
I received an ARC from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review.

Sabrina Dulce, known as Sab, is a week away from turning 11 when she sees a black butterfly. Her estranged father once told her that a black butterfly represents death, and that seeing one means someone will die. Sab decides to reconcile whatever conflict caused her father and her sister to stop speaking before before her birthday, in case she's the one meant to die. Sab races against the deadline to uncover family secrets and he
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you Scholastic Press for sending an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have written a full length review on my blog and here is an excerpt:

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 i
M.L. Little
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner:
Well let me say I loved this book. Guess how many previous books I had read set in the Philippines? Zero. This book absolutely immerses you into the world, language, culture, and surroundings of the Filipino people. It sparked my interest so much, I began exploring the country on the Internet and Google Earth. If I did those things, so would a curious kid. It’s an amazing introduction to the Philippines.
As for the story itself, I loved 11-year-old Sab and her panicked n
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There's a saying: You learn new things everyday.

Well for me, it's: You learn and RE-LEARN new things everyday.

If there was a version of "The Hate U Give" for the Philippines, it would definitely be this.

Books are indeed meant to make one feel uncomfortable. It's to call something out. In this case, the inequalities brought by the ongoing, toxic, colonial mentality and the war on drugs. Even the consequences of LGBTQIA++ was tackled.

Everything about this book screams contemporary and it's grea
Celina Daradar
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have so many things to say about My Fate According to the Butterfly that I honestly do not know where to begin. In 240 pages, Gail Villanueva managed to inject themes, values, issues and culture that faithfully reflect and represent Filipinos in the 21st century.

In my book review, I will be tackling them in the hope of explaining why I think this book is a true gem in Philippine literature.

Culture: Gail’s debut novel is bursting with Filipino cultural references that I find myself repeatedly n
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
"It's up to you what you make of it. You can either recognize and understand your privilege so you can make our society better, or you don't and let things stay the same." (p. 178)

BAM! Those lines hit me big time. While I couldn't relate to some of struggles that Sab faced, I couldn't certainly relate to this concept. While reading this book, my eyes were opened to the history and reality of many people's lives in the Philippines. I also love that Sab realizes that her dad isn't perfect - just l
Dani Gz Vega
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book brought me back the love for middle grade novels. It was such an easy read even though it deals with topics like substance abuse, colorism, drug war and white privilege. I loved how important is family in this book. I have a full review in my blog https://metamorphoreaderblog.wordpres... ...more
Sydney Young
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet book. Appropriate for children, deftly handles modern problems through a mid-grade view.
Nicole M. Hewitt
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

I went into this story blind, so I’d completely forgotten that it was going to tackle some very serious subjects, especially the topic of drug addiction. The book doesn’t deal with the issue 100% head-on, which might make it a little easier for a MG audience: Sab spends most of the book in the dark about a certain family member’s ties to the Philippine war on drugs. but she learns as the book goes on how it has affecte
Sai at theengineerisreading
The thing about wishing is that, somehow, you can believe someone's out there doing the thing for your wish to come true.

And my 10-year old reader self will be elated to know that twelve years later, a book about a Filipino kid is published internationally sharing experiences growing up in the Philippines and representing our naturally brown-skin from cover to content.

I love reading books featuring Asian characters, culture, and experiences especially if it's Filipino representation because I'll
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Gail D. Villanueva is a Filipino author born and based in the Philippines. She’s also a web designer and an entrepreneur. She loves pineapple pizza, seafood, and chocolate, but not in a single dish together (eww). Gail and her husband live in the outskirts of Manila with their dogs, ducks, turtles, cats, and one friendly but lonesome chicken. Her debut novel MY FATE ACCORDING TO THE BUTTERFLY (Sch ...more

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