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Paper Butterflies

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  2,816 ratings  ·  621 reviews
June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one—and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.

But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom... But
Paperback, 312 pages
Published June 30th 2016 by Electric Monkey
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Xiggy I think that anyone above the age of twelve could read this book, but as it is about abuse, there is a need for a trigger warning. I don't think it sh…moreI think that anyone above the age of twelve could read this book, but as it is about abuse, there is a need for a trigger warning. I don't think it should be banned for younger readers because I feel that it's important that they understand and learn about the realities of the themes of this book.(less)

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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,816 ratings  ·  621 reviews

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Emily May
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
“But at what point is a child to blame?”

I am NOT okay. Paper Butterflies is very compelling, but read it when you are in a good mental place. An extra warning to those sensitive to scenes of physical and psychological abuse.

I don't know how to talk about this book, or if I should really give it four stars, which means "really liked it" when I absolutely hated it. It crushed my heart. I actually felt a little panicked at times, like I couldn't breathe inside June's head. I found it hard to sl
Elyse  Walters
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My head is pounding from so much crying!!! My tummy is shaking ...
I’m still soooooo SAD!!!
I’m a completely drained wet noodle.....useless for the rest of the day.
I still want to cry and cry and cry.

I can’t talk right now -
Or write specific details in this review.
The visuals are so real... (I actually felt sick in parts of it).
I thought “Winter Loon”, by Susan Bernhard was grueling —
“Holy Lands”, by Amanda Sthers emotionally agonizing,(but one of my favorite books of the year)....
“The Vegeta
Andrew Smith
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: y-a, netgalley
To open this book is to step into a disturbing world – June’s world. June is a young girl who lives with her step-mother and step-sister. Her dad lives there too, except he’s away a good deal, working. June’s mother died, she drowned.

Bad things happen all the time to June, it’s as if everybody is plotting against her. Then she meets a boy, Blister, and suddenly there is a bright spot in her life, something to look forward to and to protect.

Much of the time I found this hard to read, uncomforta
Elle (ellexamines)
An interesting book as a case study about the ends children can be driven to; however, I really struggled to get past the sheer brutality and darkness of this one.

This is an incredibly dark book that, ironically, I think I would’ve enjoyed a lot more three years ago. There is a lot to like about this book. It is very well-written. The depictions of gaslighting, force-feeding, lack of belief, and racially-charged abuse, in particular, are horrifying but incredibly accurate to real-life abuse. Th
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
A disarmingly simple book about real life monsters.

Do monsters beget monsters?
Are people born bad?

There is so much in this book that catches you unawares. It's the nightmare version of Cinderella's story with a chilling account of child abuse and how it destroys lives. I'm just too emotional to say any more so please just excuse me while I curl up in the foetal position and sob

Four stars
Aga Durka
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“And, in my mind, I scoop up every one of my butterflies and push them down into my heart. I’ll keep them safe and they can beat their wings and no one will ever know that they’re there”

I am broken after reading this book. My heart is bleeding from all the emotions that I was feeling when reading this horrifying and heart wrenching novel. True monsters due exist and they can break the strongest soul down when they put their claws in it. This book...I am speechless.... I cried so hard for June. I
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
This book just ripped my heart out and shredded it over and over again. So much depth of feeling written into a book. Phenomenal writing. I felt a million things reading this outstanding book and yes, it made me cry and only 3 books have ever had that impact on me. This is powerful.

More detailed review coming once I put my heart back together again.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am at a loss of words when it comes to this book..... It rips your heart out and then it places it gently back in it's place.Reading this book has been for me like riding a emotional carousel, took me all the way through from anger, revolt to peace, love and empathy .I completely loved this book!!! ...more
Karen Whittard
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Netgalley, Egmont Publishing and Lisa Heathfielf for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance reader copy of this book.

You can find my review on both Goodreads and Amazon. On Goodreads from today under Karen Whittard and on Amazon under k.e.whittard from publication date.

'I'm so sad that I dont know how my heart carries on beating'

This is a must read of a book. More people need to read this book. Simply to understand what a brillia
Jx PinkLady Reviews ♡ bookwormthoughts

Young Adult
Tough read. Thought provoking. Maybe a little slow in places. <-Maybe it had to be that way. I had a slight issue with some transitions within the chapters. But..... The last 20% showed me that this story had seeped into my heart. It was definitely a tough read, there were times I had to pause but overall a book worth reading. FULL REVIEW THOUGHTS TO COME

Advance copy provided for my honest review thoughts *
Dannii Elle
"I'm so sad that I don't know how my heart carries on beating."

I have received this book on a read-to-review basis from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Lisa Heathfield, and the publisher, Electric Monkey, for the opportunity.

This was completely traumatic, completely beautiful and completely broke my heart!

This is the story of mental and physical child-abuse experienced through the eyes of the victim. June is a girl of mixed race who finds herself in an entirely white family after the tragic,
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The most tearful story that I have ever read. Lisa Heathfield is certainly a very talented author and is definitely going on a high adventure to the top. More readers should read Paper Butterflies. Every word every sentence every chapter every character had my full attention. I know for certain that other readers will love it too. June was ill treated by her wicked stepmother and stepsister to the point it had me in tears. What is more upsetting no one would believe what her stepmother or stepsi ...more
Jenny Baker
This book made me feel like I was the one abused instead of June. I read warnings in other reviews that I shouldn’t read this if I’m not in a good emotional place or if I’m sensitive to scenes of abuse. I ignored the warnings, because the story was intriguing. God, they weren’t even exaggerating!

It’s rare for a novel to make me feel so emotionally connected that I’m almost convinced that it’s a reality. I was so angry and anxious as I read this that I wasn’t sure if I could finish it. I decided
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, tear-jerker, library
I read this in a little under two hours. Once I started it I just couldn't put it down even though my eyes were filling with tears and I could feel my heart physically aching inside my chest. This is a very tough read but an extremely powerful one. At times I felt myself actually recoil when I read about Kathleen pretending to hug and caress June in front of her dad as if I was actually in the story. This is a book that will stick with me. ...more
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't know what to say about this book, apart from the fact that I hated it and somehow couldn't stop reading! I needed to know June was OK after all the horrible, cruel, downright evil things her stepmother did to her. I cried a lot while reading this. I had no idea where the book was going. I only enjoyed reading the parts where June was with Buster. Literally the most depressing book I've read. Only read if you're mentally prepared for something extremely sad, with very little hope. Lisa He ...more
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
It's been a long time since I've been so thoroughly destroyed by a book. ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Because a butterfly with a broken wing can still fly. ..."

If one could take a life, a pretty devastating one, but all the more real for all the suffering therein, and distill it such that it took the form of a novel instead, Paper Butterflies would be that book. Not since The Enchanted have I read anything so painful, so upsetting, so hopeless but yet somehow framed in hope. Breathtaking.

In truth, I don't recall the last time I read a book that was this intense, this raw, this difficult to get
Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)
(Review courtesy of

One of the cons about avid reading involves venturing into tales with repugnant subjects. Depending on the story line, separating fiction from reality triggers a toll on one's heart, if they're unprepared. For me, child abuse remains number one on the subjects I find difficult to experience.

Despite the good writing of this book, I yearned to "DNF" (Did Not Finish, in bookworm terms), simply because some scenes tore at my heart. But, to support t
Mar 03, 2019 marked it as tbr-soon  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aqsa by: Elyse Walters
Read Elyse's Review (It's really good!):

Jessica (Jess Hearts Books)
This is the hardest book I've ever had to read emotionally but it was so worth it. ...more
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I would like to thank Lisa Heathfield & Egmont Publishing for my copy of the ARC. Due to this kind gesture, I have decided to leave a review.

Well, how was the for a plot twist WHAT EVEN!!!!!

Junes home life is not easy, with a stepmother who puts Lady Tremaine to shame she lives to get free from the house. School isn't much better with the taunts from kids and the racial impact is real. Blister, however, comes to make it that little bit easier, to try and take Junes mind away from the horror
Natalie TBGWP
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I’m writing this with the biggest lump in my throat, a sore nose from constantly wiping at it, and sticky cheeks from the streams of tears that came down with the heaviness of my heart.

Paper Butterflies is a book I like to call a destroyer. A book so deep, hard to read, depressing, hurtful and horrible that you do nothing but grit your teeth in disgust. At the same time though, it gives you food for thought, it gives you love, and beauty. It gives you friendship, family and solidarity, and it gi
Alessandra Crivelli
**full review on the blog will be here soon**

First thing >> trigger warning: child abuse, bullying.


This is sort of a Cinderella retelling: June's mom died and her father re-marries with an awful human being, Kathleen, who has a daughter 1 year younger than June.
The narration is alternated with the "BEFORE" and the "AFTER" parts and I swear you won't ever imagine what is the after part after the actual AFTER!

Emotional. Difficult. Harrowing. Hopeful.

All words that can be used to describe this powerful novel from the lovely Lisa Heathfield. Paper Butterflies made me feel irrationally angry and left me feeling broken hearted whilst simultaneously filling me with hope. I think it is safe to say that Lisa Heathfield is a master of pulling on our heart strings whilst dealing with the most sensitive and difficult of topics.

Before picking up my copy of Paper Butterflies, I had been warned by a few of my boo

It's been several days & I still can't get these characters out of my mind.
I liked this one better than SEED, but perhaps that was just because I could relate to BUTTERFLIES more. This is one of those books you NEED to read. If you've ever been in the mood to have your entire fiber being completely shattered- look no further.

June is keeping her silence after her father remarries after her mother passes, & her life is turned upside down. Her stepmother & stepsister
Kirsty Hanson
This book has ruined my life. I think I may have read it in about two hours and not once did I get up to get a drink or change reading position. I just lay down and binge-read it. The story of Paper Butterflies will stay with me for a very very long time because of how raw, moving, shocking and emotional it is.

June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one—and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.

But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him,
Chelley Toy
This review was originally posted on

Sometimes a book comes along that makes a footprint on your memory and your heart for a long long time.

Sometimes forever.

Paper Butterflies is that book for me. It tore my heart completely and left me crying, thinking about the book and its characters long after finishing.

An emotional tale of an abusive childhood, growing up, friendship, love, forgiveness and choosing left or right.

It’s no secret that I was a huge huge fan of Lisa’s d
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

This book made me cry so hard I almost threw up. This is not an exaggeration. It freaking gutted me. From start to finish. The story is not an easy read. I couldn't put it down because I was so anxious about the outcome, but it isn't the kind of book you'll ever want to read again. I mean that in the best way possible- it's because it will shatter your soul so much the first time aro
Very confronting story about child abuse. June's narration is equal parts repellent yet fascinating.

Blister's loyalty is extremely uplifting. Doesn't save anybody though. Such a 'what if?' book.

And that ending. Gosh! It's a stunner.

Can't say I actually enjoyed reading it. Cautions abound. Trigger warnings. All the warnings.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cried so much!!!!!!!! It's amazing!! Don't be put off by "oh it's just going to make me cry" because you will be surprised by the hopeful message this book has. ...more
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Before becoming a mum to her three sons, Lisa Heathfield was a secondary school English teacher and loved inspiring teenagers to read.

Award-winning author Lisa Heathfield launched her career with SEED in 2015. Published by Egmont it is a stunning YA debut about a life in cult. PAPER BUTTERFLIES is her beautiful and heart-breaking second novel. FLIGHT OF A STARLING is another heart-breaking read wi

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