Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: The Butterfly Clues

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

 But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo.

As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind. As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.
The Butterfly Clues was a surprisingly entertaining read. With a uniquely tortured yet vibrant main character and an atmospheric setting, the words sucked me into Lo's world. This mystery is a refreshing read for any book lover.

The book starts out with Lo, a obsessive/compulsive girl who is dealing with the loss of her brother, nearly being killed in a dangerous area. She then learns a girl named Sapphire was murdered that very night. After finding Sapphires's butterfly pendant, Lo is determined to find the murderer.

My favorite part of The Butterfly clues is how the author dealt with Lo's obsessive/compulsive disorder.  The audience feels Lo's impulse to steal and gets used to rhythms of threes, sixes, and nines. Yet, the author also makes it clear that Lo is something other than her disorder.

The mystery in this book caused my heart to pound. It wasn't too predictable (something I cherished. Who else it tired of the same, reused plots?) and had me guessing at times. I loved how, throughout the book, you get to know Sapphire well, despite her being dead twenty pages in. Now that's good writing folks! Kate Ellison reveals secrets masterfully.

There are definitely family issues in this novel, ever since Lo's brother died (Ellison doesn't reveal why until later in the book. And I won't tell you either, mwahaha) Lo's family has been torn apart. Her dad is distant, and her mother is blank and hazy, a result of pills.

Lo is practically alone. This broke my heart. Then she meets Flynt, the first person to seem to actually care what's happening to her. I liked Flynt, another unique character. I imagine him as our next great painter. Mysterious and fun.

The ending of this book is terrific. I remember one line particularly."Almost seventeen years old, scarred but whole". (This may not be the exact quote, so feel free to correct me.) The dose of hope and realism made the conclusion amazing, and you could see how the terrors the characters faced made them stronger. Everyone was changed.

All in all, I recommend this book to fans of anything written darkly with touches of light. I loved it, and I hope you guys will too.

4/5 bookcases

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