Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2012
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. (from Goodreads)
I was: blown away by the power behind Lo's story.
The Butterfly Clues is a book that I will always remember for one important reason as Lo is unlike any heroine I have ever read. Although it's never identified with any definite terms, it's pretty obvious that she suffers from an extreme case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She is almost crippled by it. She taps her legs, her shoulder, her shoes, the floor in groupings of numbers that make sense to her. 4s are bad, 3s are good, 9s are even better. Even raw fear can't stop her from her compulsions. These things that she needs to do, including hoarding and arranging groupings of objects, consume her life.
An entire book could easily be written about Lo alone. Her compulsions, her needs, her struggles. However, The Butterfly Clues is much more then a book about a girl in need of help. Maybe because of her OCD, maybe it would have happened anyway but Lo finds herself in a world where the rules don't apply. A world where she makes a connection to a murdered girl and finds a friend she never thought she could have. Her family is draw into the drama and her life can never be the same afterwards.
The Butterfly Clues was a powerful read for me. I so very much wanted Lo to find herself. To find her answers and to finally realize that she wasn't a freak. She's a character that I dare you not to fall for - not to root for.
The overpowering mystery of this book still haunts me a little. The things Lo does to seek the truth. The lengths that people will go to hide the things they have done. It's all so raw and real and a little disturbing and I loved every word of it.
5 / 5 Stars