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The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
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The Butterfly Clues (edition 2012)

by Kate Ellison

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147None80,854 (3.76)None
Member:ahsreads
Title:The Butterfly Clues
Authors:Kate Ellison
Info:EgmontUSA (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Wishlist
Rating:****
Tags:mystery, thriller, suspense, young adult, OCD, art, murder, Cleveland, clues, romance

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The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

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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 ( )
  Emily_Anne | Mar 16, 2014 |
Lo, a girl afflicted with OCD and an inexplicable urge to hoard various objects, is mysteriously drawn to the murder case of Sapphire, a girl from the “wrong side of the tracks”, after finding a butterfly pendant belonging to the girl at a flea market. With the help of a cute street artist named Flynt, Lo is determined to solve Sapphire’s murder, even at the risk of her own life. "The Butterfly Clues" is an amazingly thrilling novel that not only grips you with a compelling murder investigation, but also offers insight into the often-misunderstood condition of OCD. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good mystery. ( )
  TheMadHatters | Feb 13, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this although it has some flaws; it's a solid mystery with complex characters which I always like, but the ending did not hold up. The resolution of the mystery was ok, although a little convenient in terms of the rescue. But everything after that. Lo’s father who has clearly never accepted Lo's rituals suddenly has a complete turn around? Jeremy and Keri end up together because Lo suggested it to Jeremy? In fact, I really think the book would have been stronger if the entire school subplot had been excised. I never felt invested in that because Lo wasn’t invested – the only reason it seemed to be in there was to provide the one red herring attack and to show how alienated Lo feels from her peers. Heck, except for Keri, I couldn’t even remember which of the other girls was which.

While I wish Flynt was real, he’s a completely preposterous character. And I couldn’t believe the strippers would all just talk to Lo about Sapphire and let Lo take her stuff! Seriously? I don’t know any strippers and haven’t been to a strip club ever so I cannot speak from personal experience, but I have friends who have, and from what I understand this is a pretty idealized version of that life – or maybe not idealized so much as glossed over. So maybe I could see the strippers talking to Lo, but I can’t imagine none of them would have protested the removal of Sapphire’s things by a stranger they know nothing about.

The amount of coincidences is pretty far-fetched as well – I can see Lo believing that the universe meant for her and Sapphire to connect, but are we supposed to as well? Because I as a reader did not feel enough setup for that little bit of magical realism/destiny/etc. at all and from the way I read it, we are intended to believe that's part of how everything came together.

The real accomplishment here is the character of Lo. She feels like a living, breathing person I might meet. Ellison brings to life this complex girl trying to deal with her overwhelming grief at losing her entire family (and this is a very real portrayal of grief in my opinion – you don’t just lose the one person, your entire family has to rebuild itself around the hole and sometimes they can’t and even if they can your relationships never look or feel the same) and caught up in something scary that, because of who she is, she can’t let go. I particularly love how Ellison made us feel how clearly Lo felt the loss of her mother, the parent who understood her and helped Lo cope with her compulsive urges, but without hitting us over the head with it. Instead Ellison shows us concrete differences in Lo’s life – how she and her respective parents deal with food and meals for example before and after Oren's death.

Lots to like here, but room for improvement as well. I'll be interested to see what Ellison does next. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison is about a girl diagnosed with OCD who stumbles upon the murder of a 19-year-old in Cleveland, Ohio. Days after the murder and a near-death experience, the main character, Lo (short for Penelope), finds a glass butterfly and horse pendant necklace at a flea market, both of which belonged to the murdered girl Sapphire. After learning more about Sapphire and the current police investigation, Lo quickly becomes obsessed with discovering who killed her and why they committed the crime. With the help of a strange artist named Flynt, Lo finds herself at the center of the investigation, and Sapphire’s killer knows what she is up to. It is only a matter of time before Lo is the next victim.

I would recommend this book to any fan of mystery and thriller novels. It is packed with suspenseful moments and plenty of action, and it oddly reminds me of many of those crime shows on television. The beginning introduces us to a fantasy suburb of Cleveland called Neverland and all the weird characters that live on the streets there. As you dive deeper into the story, the plotline becomes more twisted and dark, and it will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat. Finally, in the finale, we do see a light at the end of this dark tunnel, but everything may not turn out as expected.

I think the most interesting aspect of this novel would be the characters. Lo is diagnosed with OCD, and it does take a little bit to get used to her patterns and way of thinking, but it certainly pays off. Flynt is an erratic artist who views the world differently than most people, and he will introduce Lo to many other people with the same values. With Flynt’s help, Lo finally will discover what happened to Sapphire, and why she feels such a connection to someone she presumably did not even know. With the unique characters, suspenseful plotline, and interesting themes, The Butterfly Clues is one I definitely recommend to any Young Adult reader. ( )
  ahsreads | Nov 30, 2012 |
VOYA
Lo has been warned not to go to the bad part of town, Neverland, which is of course why she finds herself there one cold Cleveland evening, walking the ominous streets, drawn to certain windows, certain objects, until she witnesses the murder of a girl nobody seems to care about. Lo is not in such great shape herself. The death of her older brother, Oren, has caused her family to shut down, and at the same time has activated her OCD symptoms—compulsive acquisition and repetitive tics—to such an extent that she finds it difficult to have an ordinary conversation or walk down a hallway. There is no magic here, although Lo's relationship with the mysterious street boy who calls himself Flynt, layered on top of her almost supernatural loneliness and helpless compulsions, gives the novel an otherworldly quality. Romance and mystery blend nicely as she attempts to uncover the secrets of the murdered girl, Flynt, and her own brother. Multisensory descriptions plunge the reader into Lo's intensely observed life. Especially evocative are the passages depicting Lo's reactions to Flynt's friends, semi-homeless teen artists who make their lives in Neverland's abandoned buildings and alleys. At first drawn to their freedom, she soon senses menace and desperation. A couple of clunky coincidences as events come to a head at the end may be forgiven due to the slightly dreamlike nature of the narrative ( )
  EBurggraf | Oct 9, 2012 |
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Having experienced compulsive behavior all her life, Lo's symptoms are getting her into trouble when she witnesses a murder while wandering dangerous quarters of Cleveland, Ohio, collecting things that do not belong to her, obsessing about her brother's death.… (more)

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