When the Butterflies Came

When the Butterflies Came
Age Range
Release Date
April 01, 2013
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A moving story of a young girl's struggle with love, loss, family, and magic from the beyond, from critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Everybody thinks Tara Doucet has the perfect life. But Tara’s life is anything but perfect: Her dear Grammy Claire has just passed away, her mom is depressed and distant, and she and her sister, Riley, can’t agree on anything. But when mysterious and dazzling butterflies begin to follow her around after Grammy Claire’s funeral, Tara knows in her heart that her grandmother has left her one final mystery to solve. Tara finds a stack of keys and detailed letters from Grammy Claire. Note by note, Tara learns unexpected truths about her grandmother’s life. As the letters grow more ominous and the clues harder to decipher, Tara realizes that the secrets she must uncover could lead to grave danger. And when Tara and Riley are swept away to the beautiful islands of Chuuk to hear their grandmother’s will, Tara discovers the most shocking truth of all, one that will change her life forever. Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a magical, breathtaking mystery full of loss and love, family and faith.

Editor review

1 review
Puzzles and Butteflies
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
When Tara's beloved grandmother Claire dies suddenly in a car accident, she is devastated. Her mother becomes depressed and uncommunicative, and her wild sister Riley wants to run off to California to live with their father. Luckily, her grandmother has made provisions in her will for the family to be taken care of, and a family retainer, Butler Reginald, comes to help Tara follow the clues and keys that her grandmother has left her. She goes from her decrepit Southern mansion home to her grandmother's equally decrepit house, and from there to her grandmother's research facility on the island of Chuuk in Micronesia. Everywhere she goes, gorgeous butterflies follow her. With the help of one of her grandmother's assistants, Eloni, she uncovers a huge secret related to the butterflies, as well as an evil plot that she must foil in order to keep her grandmother's butterflies safe.

Good Points
Tara is a sympathetic character, and her grief for her grandmother is tempered by her worry and disgust at her mother's failure as a parent. There are lots of clues and puzzles that Tara needs to figure out that lead her to find out more about her grandmother's work with the butterflies. It's fun that she gets to travel around, with the bare minimum of adult supervision. There's also a lot of twists at the very end of the book that I don't want to give away.
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