After moving to Lawrence, Massachusetts, Manuel Cruz quickly learns that many rumors surround his neighbor, Madam Farfalla, and the death of her husband. But when he meets Madam Farfalla in person for the first time, he wonders if the rumors are just malicious jokes to target an old woman. Manuel soon learns that Madam Farfalla was once an opera singer, and the two quickly become fond of each another.
As Manuel begins high school in the fall, he meets Mr. Devlin, his eccentric new English teacher, who begins to shape Manuel’s growing interest in Shakespeare and other literature, and eventually convinces Manuel to write a novel of his own. Manuel bases his novel around Madam Farfalla and writes the story of how a once-famous singer lost her husband. But not all is as it seems.
One day while Manuel is working on his paper route, he is introduced to a woman who tells him the truth behind Madam Farfalla’s past, forcing him to reevaluate his relationship with the singer and everything he thought he knew. But after a serious confrontation and personal tragedy, Manuel will be forced to deal with the consequences and decide the facts for himself.
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