I’m finally beginning to tackle my blogging backlog… or at least I hope I am. *sweats nervously* One book that I have been needing to read and review for an absolute age is Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield.
Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield
Publication Date: 30 June 2016
Publisher: Electric Monkey
June’s life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one – and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.
But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom . . . But at what price?
When I read the synopsis for Paper Butterflies, I was instantly intrigued. However, I knew that it was a book that I would need to be in a certain mood for, and so it sat in my To Be Read pile for a few months. When I realised that it had been on my Kindle for over 6 months *guilty face* I knew that I was just going to have to bite the bullet and read it, regardless of whether I was in the mood or not.
Paper Butterflies tells the story of June, a young black girl living with her father, step-mother and step-sister. We see early on in the novel that June has a terrible home life, being emotionally and physically abused by her step-mother and at times, her step-sister. Her father is oblivious to the abuse. Due to her step-mother’s abuse, her school life is also affected and she is easy prey for bullies. As you can imagine, her life is bleak. When she meets a boy in the woods, there is a glimmer of hope. Will this hope be the strength she needs to escape?
Paper Butterflies has to be one of the most emotional books I have read in the last few years. I felt such a wide range of emotions reading June’s story, from anger, sadness, happiness, fear and hope. I remember updating GoodReads with my progress at 50%, stating that my heart had been broken several times already.
As Paper Butterflies addresses some serious issues such as abuse and racism, and at times it is not an easy read, it was important that this story had to be told right. Paper Butterflies was beautifully and delicately written, just like a butterfly. The way that Lisa told the story ensured that June’s words got under my skin and tugged at my emotions. Bravo, Lisa!
Turning to the characters now… where do I start with June? Oh, June! I just wanted to reach into the pages and rescue her from her step-mother. I felt that she was a genuine and believable character. My heart ached with every terrible thing she put through. Her step-mother on the other hand… oh, she made my blood boil! I cannot get over how evil one character could be. Her step-sister and father also made me angry, but not quite as much as the step-mother did. *hisses* One character that I loved alongside June was Blister. What a sweetheart. *hugs Kindle to chest* One of the things I liked most about Blister was that he wasn’t part of the story to rescue June, but to give her the inner strength she needed, even if it was just to help her survive another day.
I awarded Paper Butterflies 4/5 stars on GoodReads. The only thing that let Paper Butterflies down for me was the ending. Personally, I would have preferred a different ending but I can understand why Lisa chose the ending that she did. I am definitely going to check out Lisa’s other books, and I will do my best to make sure that they don’t languish in the To Be Read pile for months on end… *wears the cone of shame*