29. May 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Mystery, Teen Books

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison, 325 pages, read by Courtney, on 05/27/2012

Penelope “Lo” Marin has not been the same since her brother died. Not that she was ever “normal” to begin with. She’s always had her rituals, the ones that make it OK for her to face her day. But when Oren died, Lo got much, much worse. She’s now taken to exploring parts of the city and stealing objects that call to her. On one of these expeditions, she is nearly killed by a loose bullet being fired in a nearby house. As it turns out, that particular bullet had already taken the life of another young woman known only as Sapphire, a local stripper. When Lo finds Sapphire’s stolen possessions at a local flea market, she feels an immediate sense of connection and quickly becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to Sapphire. Unfortunately, someone knows that Lo has been asking questions and begins sending her grim messages to threaten her. Her mental illness makes the police blow her off, which makes Lo realize that she needs to find the killer before Lo shares Sapphire’s fate.
This is a genuinely interesting mystery with a very unusual protagonist. Lo is unlike any character I’ve met and though she seems troubled and clearly in need of a good mental health practitioner, she is also incredibly brave and thoughtful. She understands that the kids living in Neverland, a mecca for squatters, artists and addicts, are not nearly as threatening as those that are out there to take advantage of them. Lo does many things that most of us would not even consider attempting and, while not always well-advised, she makes decisions with conviction and likely understands herself better than most teens her age. A taut thriller with a twist.

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