Book Review: When the Butterflies Came by Kimberley Griffiths Little

About the Book

Title: When the Butterflies Came

Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little

Source: Library

Publication Date: April 1st, 2013 by Scholastic Press

Pages: 330

Blurb:Everybody thinks Tara Doucet has the perfect life. But in reality, Tara’s life is anything but perfect: Her dear Grammy Claire has just passed away, her mother is depressed and distant, and she and her sister Riley can’t seem to agree on anything. But when mysterious and dazzling butterflies begin to follow her around after Grammy Claire’s funeral, Tara just knows in her heart that her grandmother has left her one final mystery to solve.

A strange butler brings Tara and Riley to Grammy Claire’s house, where Tara finds a stack of keys and detailed letters from Grammy Claire herself. Note by note, Tara learns unexpected truths about her grandmother’s life. As the letters grow more ominous and the clues more difficult to decipher, Tara realizes that the secrets she must uncover could lead to mortal 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.

From Kimberley Griffiths Little comes a magical, breathtaking mystery full of loss and love, family and faith

My Review

I’ll admit that when I first started reading this book I found the main character, Tara, to be incessantly annoying. The book started out with her receiving the first note from her grandma. This note told her that she was to pack to go to her Grandmother’s house as soon as possible. However, instead of beginning to pack, Tara kept on getting sidetracked. Different characters had to keep on reminding her to start packing, but still she kept on getting distracted. I was about to close the book. If the whole story was like this, I didn’t see a point in trying to read through it. Fortunately, I stuck with it, and was rewarded by what turned into a masterful and beautifully written story.

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One of my favorite things about this book is how unique Tara and Riley are. While it would have been easy for the author to make the sisters perfect by writing them as basically the same characters, Tara and Riley were immensely different. While Tara is a thoughtful, intelligent and daring girl, her sister Riley is a rebellious teenager with an I-could-care-less-about-everything-except-my-boyfriend-and-my-music attitude. Despite their differences, they still have a wonderful relationship. While they may fight as all siblings do, there are also beautiful moments in the book when they work together and help each other. They also comforted each other when things went wrong. By the end of the book, it became clear that the mystery never could have been solved if they hadn’t had each other.

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I also loved the unique voice infused into the story. The book was narrated by Tara and I loved her southern style way of saying things. She described everything so beautifully, which fully transported me into the story. Furthermore, she had a unique catch phrase. Since her mother brought her up as a proper lady, Tara hasn’t gone on dangerous adventures such as the one her grandmother sends her on. Therefore, she must stretch her comfort zone and do things that she has never done before. Whenever she does something like this she says her catch phrase “I’m a girl who never (insert action).” I loved how her catch phrase allowed me to better get to know her.

The suspense in this book was also masterfully developed. Most of the time, I couldn’t see where the clues were leading Tara,  so I kept on turning the pages, wanting to see what would happen. The clues built up to a fearful climax that I literally read while biting my nails. I just had to find out what would happen to Tara and Riley! When I finally finished the book I loved how I could look back and see how the author snuck in details that clearly foreshadowed the ending.

One thing that detracted from the lightbulb moment once I read the ending was that I easily predicted who the villain was. Worse yet, the person who turned out to be the villain was cliché. In so many stories, the same type of person commits the crime. However, there was one huge plot twist at the end when the mystery was solved that I didn’t see coming at all. It hit me full force and made the ending, and the whole book itself, well worth it. I give this book four out of five butterflies. It was a wonderful book, but the only thing that detracted from its quality was the predictability of the ending.

Four out of five butterflies.


Have you read When the Butterflies Came or any other books by Kimberley Griffiths Little? How did you like them?


Butterflies are pretty.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: When the Butterflies Came by Kimberley Griffiths Little

  1. Fun fact: My parents used to say I had ADD. Now they say I’m very focused, but it wasn’t always like that!

    I’m interested to read this book now. The relationship between the sisters sounds great! I love complex (but sweet!) relationships in stories. And a rebellious and musical teen? I totally want to read about Riley.


    1. The relationship between Tara and Riley was well thought out and really nice to read. Oh, yes. Riley is quite the character. At first she’s all snotty, but she also shows a really nice side when it comes to her sister. You should definitely read this book! I came into it not expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised.


  2. I read this book before (a while ago)! I liked the part with the little stick the love interest (Can’t remember his name) carved for Tara though I liked the family relationship best too. It was a little slow in the beginning though, don’t you think?


    1. Oh yes! The stick Eloni carved for Tara was cute. The family relationship was also amazing. Even though Tara’s family started out really dysfunctional, it soon grew into something more beautiful at the end. It was very slow in the beginning and it was all Tara’s fault. Her grandma’s note told her to hurry up and pack because there was no time to waste, but instead of packing she kept getting distracted. I was so annoyed because I just wanted to the story to start already. However, I’m glad I stuck with it because the book turned out to be quite good.


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