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Tinfoil Butterfly

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  82 reviews
"A brutal, incredibly bizarre exploration of insanity, guilt, love, and the darkness inside all of us . . . This novel is a hybrid monster that's part Lovecraftian nightmare and part literary exploration of evil."
Gabino Iglesias, NPR

Emma is hitchhiking across the United States, trying to outrun a violent, tragic past, when she meets Lowell, the hot-but-dumb driver she hopes will take/>Emma/>Gabino
Paperback, 264 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by MCD X Fsg Originals (first published 2019)
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Average rating 3.36  · 
Rating details
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Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
My heart aches, truly.

Emma is trying to escape her past. Her goal is to hitchhike her way to The Badlands. Unfortunately, she is picked up by Lowell and he turns out to be not such a nice guy. Events unfold and she finds herself on the run yet again. She stumbles upon an abandoned diner and takes refuge for the night. She wakes in the morning to discover a young boy in a tin-foil mask pointing her own gun at her. He says his name is Earl, that his mother has died and has been eaten by his fathe
Jul 20, 2019 rated it liked it

Chapter 8 was really good.

2.5 Stars ⭐

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Paris (parisperusing)
Rachel Eve Moulton's Tinfoil Butterfly hits like a rush of pure cocaine — a terrifying account of rescue and redemption torn from the pages of Tarantino's handbook.

Freshly wounded by the haunts of her past, a twentysomething runaway named Emma tries to outstrip the vestiges of her former life.

After her hitchhike turns into a bloody carjacking, Emma heads for the Badlands on a suicide pact — but her sweet Veronica leaves her stranded at a diner in an oblivion landscape we come to call the Black Hills. Out tButterfly hits
Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
A haunting, beautifully written novel about a girl with a torrid past who goes on one journey just to be taken down a different and unexpected path. How she transverses this path is greatly influenced by Earl, an unusual kid with a tinfoil butterfly mask.

When a book is touted as "The Shining meets About a Boy", you tend to have certain expectations walking into the book. I haven't read About a Boy but I can tell you that this is absolutely nothing like the Shining. This debut holds i
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
2.5 stars

Emma's trying to forget the past and finds herself recklessly hitchhiking across the U.S. with a guy named Lowell who has gone from harmless and dumb to a creepy potential serial killer.

Just outside the Badlands of South Dakota, Emma decides to make a run for it and ends up stranded in an abandoned town with a loaded gun and a snowstorm creeping in.

Emma takes shelter in an old diner where she meets Earl, an odd young boy wearing a tinfoil mask.  Earl
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoever did comparison promotions for this book should be chastised for shamelessness. But then again I was mainly attracted to this book because something about the oh so unlikely combination of The Shining and About a Boy proved irresistible. Also…inaccurate. Or, if you want to get technical about it, dramatically tangential at best. Yeah, there is a creepy locale, sort of, and a boy, sort of, but that’s about it. The story is really about a young woman named Emma who, following a personal tra ...more
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
I was, of course, drawn in by the pitch of this book being like “The Shining meets About a Boy.” What a strange and wonderful combination—I needed to know.

Despite a strong first act, this book lost speed for me in the middle and never fully roped me back in. It is definitely a weird book with innovative writing, strange ideas, and a unique perspective to offer. It is always fun to see what sort of innovation MCD is fostering. I am here for it, but this one just didn’t quite work for me.

Lindsay Loson
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and FSG Books (& MCD x FSG Originals) for this ARC, out September 2019!!

After I had seen a couple of glowing reviews for this novel, and the fact that it is described as a cross between The Shining and About A Boy, I had to have a copy of it. I read it in a little over a day, and only put it down to go to sleep (and even then I really didn't want to). Rachel Eve Moulton sucks you into this story that is about so much more than the connection between
Randi (randi_reads)
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an interesting book! I read this based on a recommendation and it did not disappoint. A quick read, too. I read it in two sittings. It's a bit horror with a bit of supernatural. Emma's journey just sucks you in and won't let go. She hasn't had a good life and her journey to the Badlands isn't easy, either. She hitches a ride with Lowell, who turns out to be not a good guy. When he won't let her out of the car, there's some blood shed. Emma ends up at a deserted diner where she meets a young ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, snack-reads
A solid snack-read of a creepy thriller.

A fellow book group member loosed the term 'snack-read' at our last meeting and now I refuse to stop using it because it's perfect in every way. It encapsulates a very specific reading experience. Something tasty. Something quick. Something that satisfies without a whole lot of work on the reader's part. A literary SNICKERS.

This book is that. It's salacious, eerie, suspenseful, violent escapism to the tune of a good slasher film.

Emma's hitchi
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
No spoilers: It’s best to go into this one knowing very little about it. I had no idea what kind of book this was when I first picked it up. I had heard that it was horror and a real page turner but I didn’t know if the evil in it was supernatural or human in origin. I’m not telling which one it turned out to be! This ultra-violent thriller is more gruesome and appalling than frightening. I would definitely count it as horror because it is absolutely horrific but not really scary. There is a dec ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This was an intriguing novel that was not exactly what I was expecting from the description, but by the time I realized that, the story had already sucked me in and I had to find out more about Emma and why she seemed to be on her own with a horrid scar on her stomach from pulling out her own stitches. It's not clear at first why Emma so desperately wants to get to the Badlands or what it has to do with her past, but she is obviously willing to risk her life to make it there. When she ends up ha ...more
Paolo Latini
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: americans, 2019
An almost perfect horror novel, where a young 18 year old woman finds herself having to take care of a creepy and gruesome 8-year-old kid (hence the reference to About a Boy) in a kind of ghost town where she has to face her own inner demons (and hence the reference to Shining). The style is sure and confident, the rhythm incisive, the book begins in medias res and immediately immerses you in dark and disquieting atmospheres.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
"Once upon a time there was a dark-haired girl who liked to east snow and run away from dead bodies," I say to no one.

I should have loved this more. This odd mix of gore and fright should have been just the story I would have loved. But I got the wrong idea about this book from the top quote on Goodreads. It made me think the plot and the story were going to go a certain way so I was ready for it - the twist that was going to pull it all together. The epiphany and the wake up. I looked for
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn't like this book, and I would have rated it only one star except that the writing was quite good - at least for 200 pages. But the last 50 pages or so were ill-conceived and badly executed so that it was hard to follow the story and know what was supposed to be happening. Basically, a young woman is hitchhiking to the Badlands, and a series of unpleasant and unrealistic events occur - including meeting a strange little boy and becoming involved in his miserable family life. The writing wa ...more
I am still not even sure what was real and what wasn't. Is Emma crazy, because I feel that way
sometimes. Is Earl even real? I just didn't get it and was so confused. I am sure some readers will love its weirdness, but me, not so much.

*Thank you to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.
Vince Darcangelo
This dynamic debut novel begins in motion — two strangers in a van charging through the barrens of South Dakota — and never lets its foot off the gas. Our narrator, Emma, leads us on a brutal and heartbreaking journey that is as delightful as it is disturbing.

Emma is on the run from her troubled past, wounded physically and spiritually, and hitches a ride with a dirtbag named Lowell. We meet her in peril, but soon learn that Emma is not as vulnerable as her circumstances suggest. ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, thriller, arc
Following deep and significant loss, Emma finds herself hitchhiking across the country, so set on finding The Badlands that she makes an arrangement with a man who does not have her best interests at heart. In defending herself against the man, Lowell, she takes his van and soon discovers a small, likely abandoned diner a ways off the highway, which is the beginning of a nightmarish fight against evil men, the elements, and her own demons to save herself and the life of a little boy she finds in ...more
Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)
"He isn't sure what he's capable of.
I know that feeling. I've worried my whole life that I'm crazy."

Oooph. This book.💔

Such a strange journey this little book took me on. The writing was so intense and tangible I felt like I could taste smoke on my tongue and my body is tense from holding itself in a stress position as I finished reading.

I felt for Earl and Emma and I wanted more of the darling little butterfly that is Earl, but the main stor
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
You know those feel-good books that leave you with a smile on your face after you read them? This is not it. As disturbing as it's possible to be, some of its powerful images are burnt into my mind, from the mask worn by Earl, a little boy that Emma meets while running from a bad guy, to the dilapidated buildings where the action takes place. Emma is not the most balanced person and some her actions are shocking. The synopsis describes this book as The Shining meets About a Boy but to me it was ...more
Jessica Sullivan
A surreal and disturbing novel about a woman on the run from her violent, tragic past. Emma is hitchhiking to the Badlands when she gets stranded in the middle of nowhere and comes across Earl, a strange little boy in a tinfoil mask who begs for her help. What follows is a menacing fever dream about the insidious ways that trauma can root itself into the very core of those it touches. Determined to save Earl from his dangerous father, Emma confronts the demons from her own past and ultimately wo ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm challenged by this one and it shifts in my estimation as I think about it.
On the one hand, it's a searing, blistering read: a harrowing descent into some bad, bad shit. On the other hand, I think that Moulton was trying to reach things she doesn't quite manage to get to, and the book doesn't quite live up to its setpieces.

But all in all, an interesting one. Willing to grade on a curve for it.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
TINFOIL BUTTERFLY is a heart pounding, and heart breaking, thrill ride. It was unexpected and I couldn’t put the second half down. Emma is a tragic character, who causes chaos in the Badlands as she tries to escape her past. She meets the young Earl along the way, saving him from a life of trauma and abandonment. Their relationship is the core of the story, and what makes you truly root for good things to happen to the characters in the midst of true terror.

It’s a lean, twisted adven
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bizarre, dark and just one of those stories where you can’t help but root for its train wreck, immoral hero. Beautifully written. Parts of this horror novel are almost poetic. Earl is an incredible character I won’t soon forget.
Alison Wallace Projansky
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this unusual thriller about a disturbed young woman and a boy, and their escape from deranged killers. On re-reading this, maybe enjoy isn't the right word. Anyway, a great debut, and just a little all over the place. I'm still not sure about the ending...
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
what a weird book but honestly i'm more partial to it than not because i too lived in the black hills, knew someone regrettable named lowell smith, and never even ended up making it to the badlands
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: tbr
2.5 stars - this book just wasn't that good to me. It does have an amazing cover though.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thank you FSG Books, for the free advance copy.

Tinfoil Butterfly is beautiful. It's dark. It's morbid and macabre and disturbing. And it's so incredibly good.

I enjoyed every minute of the story. There was no lull. This journey was unforgettable.

This is book combines horror and thriller and a sprinkle of supernatural. It gets intense. And it's a book that I would read again.
Anastasiya Olk
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn't have high expectations going in, but the NPR review really made me believe that this was going to be better. I didn't hate it, but it also didn't live up to being "reminiscent of Silent Hill" like the article claimed. Apart from some darker imagery and mostly nonsensical plot elements, there wasn't a whiff of that creepy-crawly, unsettling sense of danger that playing Silent Hill elicits - although the main character, Emma, claims to feel this way several times throughout the novel.

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