Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Title: The Butterfly Clues
Author: Kate Ellison
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Egmont USA
e-ARC, 325 pages
Date Published: February 14, 2012
Source: NetGalley
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
The Butterfly Clues begins with a killer opening. . .literally. Gunshots and death kick off Penelope ‘Lo’ Marin’s tale of mystery and thrilling whodunit. Lo’s brush with death and her subsequent involvement in the murder of the stripper Sapphire drive the entire story. Lo’s need, no urge, to figure out what happened to the girl she didn’t know is unbreakable. As are Lo’s little eccentricities and her OCD habits.

As strong as the story starts off, it does lag quite a bit in the middle. Lo’s habits and urges are interesting enough at first, but I could only take so much tap tap tap, banana-ing. And she does it a lot. And that’s exactly how OCD works – Lo’s debilitating urges are spot on, but when they’re written in a book, they can be too much. I felt like I could never get down to who Lo was and connect with her because all we see are her urges and desire to be someone else. Lo’s OCD took the focus away from the murder and away from the dingy, scary Neverland of Cleveland and the beauty of the sweet boy Flynt.

Parts of the story are also a bit predictable; which didn’t really bother me. For all the parts that were predictable, there were ten other ones that caught me off guard. And even though The Butterfly Clues lags some in the middle, the last third of the book takes off like a rocket. Once Lo starts putting the puzzle pieces together, this complex mystery starts to unravel.

The Butterfly Clues is a mystery novel at its heart. It has a dash of love drama, a handful of family issues, and a whole lot of investigating. It had so much potential to be incredible, but was only just okay for me. I can see many others (and know a good handful of people) loving it though and it is certainly worth checking out.

Opening line: I spot her out of the corner of my eye and freeze. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
Now you know what curiosity did.
Be careful, or you’ll end up like the cat. ~ pg. 79

*This is the e-ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy  
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Kate Ellison online:

Buy it online:


Sizzling Reads said...

I'm with you on that tap tap tap, banana-ing stuff. After a while I couldn't take it anymore! And I also think it prevented us from truly getting to know her, since she was consumed by her urgers 24/7, but the rest of the story was pretty decent. Great review!

Shana @ Sizzling Reads
Enter my 350 Followers giveaway!

I Read Banned Books said...

Lo's OCD rituals took up a lot of room on those pages, I agree. Although, that is how the life of a mentally ill person goes. She is absolutely consumed with her illness that everything else is secondary. Good review! I liked the mystery too, although bits were predictable.


Nerd Girls said...

OMG seriously with the tap-tap-tap banana. I thought I was going to become OCD myself and start doing it too.

The author did a great job portraying OCD but seriously, I couldn't handle seeing those words any more in the story LOL.

Nerd Girls at Books to the Sky

Candace said...

I've been wondering about this one and if the OCD would make it a bit tedious. I don't think I'd pick this one up but it does sound like an interesting premise so if I were to see if at the library there's a chance I'd give it try. Sorry it wasn't great for you!

Elodie said...

Too bad this one didn't meet your expectations .. I was really interested in this one but I'm a bit reluctant to read it because I don't know if I'd enjoy it after all ... Thanks for the honest review Nikki :) !!

BookLuvr Mindy said...

I've actually had my eye on this one for a while. If the first 2/3 of the book wasn't that great, I don't know if I would have kept reading to get the last third. Nice review!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I really really wanted to like Lo, but I just couldn't connect with her. I couldn't get past her urges and her OCD, but I still saw so much potential there. Thanks for commenting!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I totally get that OCD really does control a person's life and I feel kind of bad saying that's the major reason why I didn't like the book, but it is. It was too hard for me to see Lo when all I could see were her urges.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Haha, yeah, it was driving me up a wall. The author did a phenomenal job with the reality of OCD, but I just felt like it was too much for a book. In a way, it took away from the mystery and the characters because there were so many rituals.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I was soooooo excited to read it. Like over the moon excited. And the trailer is incredible, but unfortunately, it didn't really do it for me. I've seen other reviews that just gush and gush and gush about it, so people do love it. TBC just wasn't not the perfect fit for me. :(

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

You're welcome, Elodie! If you decide to read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm curious how my reading experience was different from someone else's.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I'm that person who cannot stop reading a book. No matter how frustrating it becomes or how much I don't like it, I nearly always finish it. I think there have been a total of two books that I've never finished, but there's been plenty that I don't necessarily enjoy.

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