Kavanand's Reviews > The Butterfly Clues

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
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's review
Feb 05, 2012

really liked it
Read in February, 2012

Sixteen-year-old Lo's family has fallen apart since the death of her brother a year earlier. Her father works all the time, her mother rarely leaves her bedroom, and Lo's obsessive compulsive disorder is threatening to overwhelm her. Her life is built around numeric rituals, like repeating things three times and tapping on her leg nine, nine, and then six times. She also hoards objects in her room and keeps everything arranged in a precise order. Through her obsessive collecting, she ends up with some items that belonged to a young woman named Sapphire who was murdered in a rough neighborhood called Neverland. Lo becomes obsessed with the dead girl and with solving her murder. Her quest takes her into Neverland, putting her in grave danger and bringing her close to a mysterious street artist named Flynt.

The Butterfly Clues is a really interesting look at obsessive compulsive disorder. Lo is a fascinating heroine. She's had obsessive compulsive disorder since she was a young child, but in the past year, it's completely taken over her life. Her relationships with her parents have completely broken down, she has no friends, and her grief for her brother is overwhelming. Kate Ellison really brings this character to life. Some of the OCD parts are a bit hard to read, but it's also easy to understand why her disorder has taken over her life since she needs something she can control and these rituals bring her some comfort. Her relationship with Flynt becomes a bright spot in her life even as she struggles with whether she can really trust him.

I found the mystery a bit predictable, although this didn't bother me as it's Lo's journey that is the most interesting part of the story. There were some parts of the book that strained credulity. Lo continually puts herself in danger (for example, making multiple trips to the creepy strip club where Sapphire worked). But even though there were scenes that made me want to shake some sense into Lo, I also understood where she was coming from; she feels a connection to the dead girl, and her need to uncover the truth of Sapphire's death becomes a full-blown compulsion. There was a subplot involving some of Lo's fellow students that felt a bit tacked on and didn't add anything to the story. But these are minor complaints, and overall, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to fans of contemporary YA.

I received an ARC from Amazon Vine.
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