Leslie Lindsay's Reviews > The Butterfly Girl

The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld
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it was amazing

Gorgeous companion to THE CHILD FINDER, this book stands on its own and is as gorgeous as harrowing

I loved Rene Denfeld's previous book, THE CHILD FINDER (2017), but THE BUTTERFLY GIRL (October 1 2019) absolutely shines. It's a gripping account of underprivileged, disadvantaged children and their circumstances .

Naomi is an exceptional young woman who has a knack for finding missing or displaced children. Now, we continue with her story as she is wracked with the guilt and compulsion of finding her own sister, who disappeared years ago when both girls were in captivity. Naomi escaped, but her sister didn't.

Naomi has no picture, no idea even what her sister's name is. She can't remember; it was that traumatic. And she was just a kid when it all happened. All Naomi has is a vague sense of a strawberry field at night, black dirt rimming her nails, and bare feet. She ran for her life.

Now, nearly twenty years later, Naomi is in Portland Oregon, amidst skid row, where scores of homeless children wander in and out of shelters, abandoned paint factories, and behind Dumpsters. They're looking for love, for money, for acceptance, for companionship. They want to be heard. When Naomi notices girls have been going missing for months, and pulled from the river like dead fish, she must get involved--but she doesn't want to. Not really. Not until she finds her sister.

That's when she meets 12 year old Celia, who is running from her abusive stepfather and IV drug addict mother. Celia has a vivid imagination and sharp wit , but she can't seem to escape her fate on the street.

The writing is lush and poetic, every sentence absolutely sings. I read with deep awe and fascination, and also my heart in my throat. This is a bleak and chilling story, but also hopeful. Denfeld does a fabulous job of weaving several story lines together in a cohesive whole; her experiences as a public defender investigator absolutely shine.

There is so much honesty and authenticity in these pages, but also haunting and lyrical prose. It's a cry for action for the disadvantaged, but also a literary mystery. THE BUTTERFLY GIRL will leave you breathless.

Keep in mind, this title does mention some darker sides of life, including human (child) trafficking, child homelessness, pedophiles/rape , although the language used helps soften and distort the abuse.

I found similarities between this book and Emma Donoghue's ROOM meets THE NIGHT CHILD (Anna Quinn). Other might find it reminds them a bit of Cara Hunter's IN THE DARK , but THE BUTTERFLY GIRL is much more literary/poetic.

For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay|Always with a Book
Special thanks to HaperCollins and ShreveWilliams for this review copy. All thoughts are my own.

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Reading Progress

April 20, 2019 – Shelved
April 20, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
May 5, 2019 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
May 5, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read (Hardcover Edition)
September 8, 2019 – Started Reading
September 11, 2019 – Finished Reading

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