Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Author: Kate Ellison
Publishing Company: Egmont USA
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery/Suspense, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Pages: 336
Rating: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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.

In this book, Penelope "Lo" Marin suffers from OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. I think that many people have very mild cases of OCD, not as drastic as Lo's was, but still, they have some obsession with neatness in them. I know I do. You dont know how many times I've had to go back and change or even out something because of my mild OCD. This cover also is just great. I really like how it ties into the story and the title of to, since it's dealing with a murder case and the butterfly necklace she's given that belongs to the victim that starts the chain of events. Lo sort of finds a new hobby after finding this necklace, and it's trying to figure out who killed this girl that she's never even met before. I couldn't believe that Lo would even do that, let alone keep going and trying harder after she's threatened and almost killed.

Lo's entire life here is dominated by this OCD, and not only does she has this disorder, she's also obsessed wih stealing and she's like a hoarder, keeping everything she steals. She stole a necklace from a vendor at the flea market which then got her into lots of trouble, but she also steals an umbrella. From an elderly woman. I found that a little sad, since Lo was willing to do that. The fact that Lo had OCD didn't bother me too much, only near the beginning, because while she always had to make things even and she liked to make things by intervals of three, she hated making things even by twos and fours and eights and so on. This seems like standard behavior, since it reminds me of me sometimes, when I have to have things evened out and I always start something over sometimes after being interrupted. But again, I'm pretty sure everybody suffers from a small amount of OCD.

This whole concept was really intriguing. Usually a main character might have some disorder, but they usually never have OCD. That's really hard to write about, and it can swerve a reader's interest. I didn't feel too disinterested, so congratulations to Kate for doing that, but I have to admit, I do think that the OCD got in the way at times. Lo always has this ritual where she goes tap tap tap banana before entering a door, and it got really annoying. As you can see from my status updates for this book on Goodreads, the main thing I complain about is the tap tap tap banana bit. If I had to hear it one more time, I swear, I was hurling the book. I was just about ready to hurl this book. But, I think that Lo was a strong character, considering what she'd been through, after her brother's death and her parents' depression afterwards.

The huge thing that irked me and I still can't let go of it is the fact that Lo hates doing her "sequences"—let's call them—by two, four, eight, and so on. Lo is basically paranoid that multiples of three are the safest, and I'm fine with Lo thinking that, since it comes with the territory of having OCD. But in this one scene, where Flynt touches her knees each twice, Lo doesn't freak out. Instead, she breathes a sigh of relief and goes, "Good. Even." Pages later, Lo is fighting with her dad and freaking out over how two is the worst of numbers. Maybe I read it wrong, but I can't let it go. It's just so controversial and it's a very petty thing to freak over, but I hate when writing contradicts itself.

Let's talk the love interest. He had dreadlocks. And his street name was Flynt. His real name isn't revealed until the bitter end. But I thought he was a great match for Lo, and he kept her grounded. Lo never actually told Flynt about her OCD, but Flynt sort of pieced it together, and was really nice about it. Lo and Flynt went through a slightly rocky relationship before smoothing it all out, but it was what made it all the more interesting. I love that type of love that you have to work for. I don't really like Flynt's image, though, because I always thought about him as more of a floppy-haired kind of guy, not a dreadlocks guy. But I could be wrong. I also didn't like how Flynt was basically ignored in most of this book, and how he wasn't mentioned in full retrospect until much later in the book.

The secrets and tension building through this book, Flynt adding to some of it, was really great. It was enough to keep me edged at my seat, and I definitely think that the author did a great job with keeping a good mystery and suspense without making it really tacky like a Scooby Doo episode. I was kept guessing until the very end, and everything in this book was so well arranged that you never saw any of the plot twists coming until they actually came. And there were so many suspects of who murdered the girl in question. First, the bouncer at the club she worked at, then Flynt himself, then Lo's own brother, and then there was the true murderer, who may or may not have been in this list.

You'll just have to read this book and find out who killed the victim. I definitely liked it, except for a few problems, as mentioned in my review. and dont forget to read my Goodreads progress updates below. They're definitely something…


  1. I thought this was a unique book, but I never noticed the discrepancy with the number two like you mentioned. It almost makes me wish I could go back into my ecopy and look!

    I thought it was interesting to read about a character with OCD, but I got really tired of "tap, tap, tap, banana"

    Jenny at Books to the Sky

  2. I'm debating on whether or not to read this book. You mentioned a bitter end and I STILL haven't recovered from "Mockingjay"'s psuedo-happy ending. I'll really have to look at this one. But your review was beautifully lengthy and informative.


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