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.
Hardcover, 325 pages Published February 14th 2012 by EgmontUSA
Not only does Lo develop a hoarding obsession upon her brother’s death, she also develops ticks (part of an obsessive-compulsive disorder) that make her daily life harder. She finds companionship in a solitary boy Flynt whom does random jobs around town to make money, mostly painting. Their friendship soon develops into more and they confide in each other.
The writing slowly builds up the suspense as Lo digs herself deeper into the ugly side of town. As the story gets more intense, her obsessive-compulsive disorder becomes more aggressive as well. Lo is searching for answers and it seems that every corner she turns, Flynt is there. He is familiar with the area and the people she is looking for as she searches for answers about her brother’s life. His death makes her feel incomplete and searching for answers is all that keeps her going. Her school life, home life and friends are all feeling her remoteness.
When Lo learns of the death of a local strip dancer, she begins to be obsessed with the woman. She buys some of Sapphire’s things from a seller at a stand and begins to feel that Sapphire is guiding Lo to help her find her killer, and why she died. This gets Lo in deep with the dangerous people involved in the business. They do not want her around asking questions and when trouble hits closer to home, Lo turns to Flynt. But Flynt has been hiding secrets of his own.
The Butterfly Clues is a Contemporary Young Adult novel that deals with heartbreak and mental illness with the main plot driven by the murder mystery of Sapphire.
My favorite part about this book that I think others would enjoy is the unique ness of the main character. She is not only grieving from the loss of her brother, but also struggling with the confusion of a first love. We get to see her step out of her comfort zone and we all need a reminder to be brave every once in awhile.