Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison


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.


Publication date: February 14th 2012 by EgmontUSA 

The Elliott Review:

I love to read books with OCD characters, so I couldn't pass this one up. Lo has various obsessions - counting, repeating words, hoarding, stealing. Basically all of these methods help her feel that everything is right. Since her brother's death, stealing and hoarding are the only things that help her cope. One night, while sneaking around houses in the rundown part of town known as Neverland, she gets more than she bargained for when she hears gunshots and later finds out that she was at the scene of the crime when it was going down. Lo is a well-developed character with strengths to compensate for the inherent weaknesses encompassing her OCD.

What I love about this book is the sense of unease. I was unsure of everyone in the book, thinking that Lo shouldn't trust them in her search for answers. For instance, there's Flynt, an extremely attractive and even sweet guy, who seems to have a connection with Sapphire and possibly to the crime. As Lo gets closer to him, I started freaking out, hoping she wasn't getting in over her head.

I love how each clue is unveiled, giving a better perspective into what happened to Sapphire, about how the justice system basically let her down. The tension gets really high as Lo comes closer to the identity of the murderer, finding out what happened to her brother along the way.

This book is an interesting read, a very great contemporary fiction break for me.

Young Adult Notes:

Some language, some sensuality, violence, mention of rape.

Source: Thanks to Egmont USA for making this title available at NetGalley.


  1. I keep seeing good reviews for this one. I've got this one waiting to be read, and I should probably get on it :-) I still haven't read any books with an OCD Main character...should be pretty interesting!

  2. I got this book over the break. I couldn't pass up on the OCDness either...


  3. Oooh, sounds good! Ditto that I love books that sensitively and realistically portray characters with mental illnesses or disabilities, and that they're part of the character, not just a plot device to trip them up. Definitely going to check this one out.