Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Title: The Butterfly Clues
Author: Kate Ellison site
Format: Hardcover, 325 pages
Published: 2/14/2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Source: Library
Challenges: Standalone Reading Challenge (hosted by Icey Books)

“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.”

Basic Synopsis:
Penelope, who prefers to be called “Lo” has severe OCD and compulsively steals/hoards things. When just outside Cleveland, the bad side of town called “Neverland”, a girl known as Sapphire is murdered. Lo has never met her, but she feels inexplicably connected to her and decides to try to solve her murder herself.

Penelope has severe OCD and a compulsion to steal beautiful things. Her life is ruled by numbers, everything she does must be done in 3’s, 6’s, and 9’s to “keep her safe”. The Butterfly Clues is one of the most empathetic books I’ve read. I could really feel as Penelope felt, her emotions are so easily conveyed within the pages.

Plot and Story:
The Butterfly Clues is full of mystery and suspense. I ended up with a lot of theories as to the killer was, and who “Bird” was. But I wasn’t ever really sure until the very end. I was also didn’t guess right who Bird was. I was very surprised. So, some of the book was predictable and some of it wasn’t. This book kept me guessing, and I like that.

My one and only complaint about this book is the ending. It didn’t match the tone of the rest of the book at all. It went from a mystery/thriller to a light contemporary romp for the last 15-20 pages. And I really don’t understand why.

Except for the ending, I really liked this book. It was fast paced and uputdownable from the first chapter. I give it 4 of 5 stars. I’m really excited to see what debut author Kate Ellison will write next. 


  1. This sounds like a good read that is worth trying. I haven't seen it around often. Thank you for your review.

  2. It was seriously fascinating to become aware of all of the quirky compulsive things that "Lo" had to deal with to just get through the day...and exhausting reading about the way she tried to hide her taps and her counting and the way she had to say everything in sets of three...whew!!!

    A vivid heart pounding that I won't soon forget.
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