Title: The Butterfly Clues
Author: Kate Ellison
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Lo has always loved collecting beautiful things. Her dad's job means a lot of moving around, and she's learned to cope by collecting, or sometimes stealing, trinkets and souvenirs in each new place - possessions that allow her to feel some semblance of home. But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers an antique butterfly at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as being stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known as "Sapphire." As usual, Lo beings to obsess over it and can't get the murder out of her mind. As she attempts to piece together the "butterfly clues," with some unlikely help from a street artists named Flynt, Lo finds herself caught up in a seedy, underground world - a world that could hold the key to her brother's death.
Thrilling and mysterious, The Butterfly Clues is a thriller mystery for a YA audience, giving the reader twists and turns and suspense. When reading this, the question kept popping up in my head: where are the YA thrillers? Where are the contemporary murder mysteries? Sure, there's Michele Jaffe's Rosebush, with all its questions and partial amnesia, but I'm so pleased to have finally found this book. So many twists and questions, and it made me uncomfortable the way a raw and powerful book should.
Lo was so unique a character I couldn't help but feel for her. Her obsessive compulsions and her hoarding/stealing were very real, her voice crisp and clear, weaving its way into my head as I read her story. The author has pulled off her personality in an amazing way. It's good to read books about characters that are autistic or bipolar or depressed or have OCD. There's nothing wrong with seeing the world through their eyes, learning how they cope with the randomness and irregularity of the world around them, how the compulsions bring order to their lives and reduce the anxiety.
And the setting. The Cleveland found in this book is raw and gritty, filled with secret passages and hidden treasures, filled with the downtrodden and the forgotten.
Dark, complicated, and so very real, The Butterfly Clues will leave your heart racing as you follow Lo deeper and deeper into a seedy underbelly of runaways, strippers, and drug addicts we often ignore.
(I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher on NetGalley.)