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The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

The Butterfly Clues (edition 2012)

by Kate Ellison

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1662171,708 (3.83)None
Title:The Butterfly Clues
Authors:Kate Ellison
Info:EgmontUSA (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
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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I had a hard time getting into this book. I'm not sure why; perhaps too much teen angst and psychological drama? This would be a good read for a teen into dark murder mysteries. It did pick up a bit as I got through it but it just wasn't the book for me. ( )
  MegAnastasi | Oct 26, 2015 |
I liked this book quite a bit. The author created a very unique, interesting main character (Penelope). I also liked the character Flynt, although I would like to have learned more about him. The plot manages to create a lot of suspense and some fairly frightening scenarios. The main reason I didn't give this a higher rating is because I was able to predict the outcome of two main plot points. I don't know if that says more about the predictability of the story itself as written by the author, or more about how much suspense/horror I've read throughout my life, lol. Overall I would recommend this book if you enjoy a good mystery. ( )
  Kelly_Mills | Dec 12, 2014 |
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 |
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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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