Customer Reviews for

The Butterfly Clues

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  • Posted February 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great Potential, But Fell Short

    2.5 stars

    The Butterfly Clues begins with a killer opening. . .literally. Gunshots and death kick of 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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013


    This book may have bad words but it is spectacular

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Loved it.

    I read this in my high school library. I didn't know what it was about but the name interested me. Good thing to because I absolutly fell in love with this book.

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  • Posted August 31, 2012

    I'll admit it - I first wanted to read this book because of the

    I'll admit it - I first wanted to read this book because of the cover alone. In a sea of books with covers full of pretty girls in elegant dresses, this book stood out. (In fact, I did a whole feature on this book because of it's cover - you can see that here.) However, once I started reading, it became clear that this book stood out for many more reasons, including great writing and an engrossing story.

    If Penelope "Lo" Marin had to be described in one word, it would be this: obsessive. She collects beautiful trinkets, stealing them when she has to, and arranging them all just so in her room. She suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and feels an urge to tap and whisper to herself (in multiples of three, of course) to make everything alright. And finally, when she learns that a young girl named Sapphire has been murdered when it was almost her instead, Lo won't rest until she finds out who the murderer is. However, finding the murderer takes Lo to a new world, an area of the city known as Neverland. There Lo meets Flynt, a street artist who has the possibility of becoming so much more than just a tour guide. Even with Flynt's help, tracking a murderer isn't easy, despite her clues. But these clues could reveal more to her than she ever imagined...

    I know what you're thinking - another murder mystery that can be easily solved. Think again. The Butterfly Clues might be a mystery, but it is more than that: It is truly a story of the characters. Almost everyone that we meet has their own story to tell, and I love that we get to learn them all through Lo's memory and investigation even if we don't meet them directly. Lo herself is such a memorable character. Not only is she forced to deal with constant relocation and the death of a sibling, but also she suffers from OCD; I'm sure I will remember her constant "tap, tap, tap, banana" for a long time. Because Lo is on her own and an outcast, she views the world differently, and this was refreshing to read. I also loved getting to know Sapphire. Her journal entries added so much to the story, making my heart break for her and for her life cut short. Finally there is Flynt...but I think I will leave you to find out for yourself about him.

    Even though Lo's OCD habits took some adjusting to and the mystery could be predicted, there were definitely still surprises. Beyond that, though, the story was very well-written with both wonderful descriptions and insights. The dark, seedy world of this book came to life and made me fear for Lo's safety, and yet the characters and their stories were still moving. The mystery might be solved, but the characters' lives weren't, and I would have loved to know what the future had in store for them.

    The Butterfly Clues was a fantastic debut novel from Kate Ellison, providing just what you would want in a murder mystery and more. I'll look forward to reading more from this author!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Touching, and thrilling murder mystery/unexpected romance.

    Touching, and thrilling murder mystery/unexpected romance.

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  • Posted July 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I would have liked more mystery and less OCD

    Penelope "Lo" Marin has always liked order. Since her brother's death Lo has needed more than her rituals to bring order to the chaos of day-to-day life. Her collections of beautiful things, arranged perfectly around her room, make Lo feel better. They'll never erase the gaping hole her brother left behind, but they help clear her head. At least until she sees another item she has to have for her room. Then nothing will quiet her head until the object is hers.

    Wandering Cleveland's Neverland searching for traces of her brother's last days as well as objects for her room, Lo stumbles upon something she was never meant to see.

    It's all tied to a beautiful butterfly charm she finds at a flea market and the butterfly's last owner--a girl named Sapphire who was murdered days before the butterfly makes its way to Lo. Convinced that finding the butterfly means something, that she is connected to Sapphire against all odds, Lo works to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding Sapphire's death.

    The deeper Lo delves into the murder, the more questions she unearths. What does Sapphire have to do with the alluring street artist who seems so eager to help Lo? Why did someone want Sapphire dead?

    If she keeps searching, Lo hopes ordering all of the clues will lead to an answer and give her (and Sapphire) some peace. But that's going to be as hard as it is for Lo to keep her rituals in check when someone in Cleveland wants Lo's investigation stopped for good in The Butterfly Clues (2012) by Kate Ellison.

    The Butterfly Clues is Ellison's first novel.

    It becomes obvious early in the narrative that Lo's collecting, rituals, and habits are symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ellison does a good job making Lo a relatable heroine, habits and all, but that only goes so far when every page has Lo tapping or counting in some way to get through her day.

    However, while Ellison delves into the whys behind Lo's OCD behaviors for most of the novel, some of Lo's choices make little sense given not just her OCD but also common sense.* Though many of these decisions are crucial to the plot, they often pulled me out of the narrative as I found myself wondering what Lo could possibly be thinking.

    Lo is a generally likable and sympathetic narrator so it's easy to let that go. Seeing her broken family and Lo's struggle to keep her OCD in check is heartbreaking and extremely compelling.

    Unfortunately a shaky plot does little to strengthen The Butterfly Clues. Parts of the story are drawn out and seemingly superfluous to the actual plot instead serving only to lengthen the text. On the other hand key aspects of the actual mystery are obvious early on as Lo explores Neverland. Ellison demonstrates a lot of range in this debut and while I would have liked more mystery and less OCD, ¿The Butterfly Clues¿ is a definite clue that Ellison is an author to watch.

    *The idea that Lo would have no problem with the germs and dirt inherent to Neverland's homeless community--even Flynt--seemed extremely unlikely to me. Other--more spoilery--moments also defied all believability for me.

    Possible Pairings: Frost by Marianna Baer, Clarity by Kim Harrington, Slide by Jill Hathaway, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012


    This book truly gives one butterflies while reading the suspense, thrill, and attachment to characters and plot is extrodinary. Round of applause !

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  • Posted May 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book started out amazingly, with the "magical" wo

    This book started out amazingly, with the "magical" world of Neverland, meeting Flynt, and the necklaces from Sapphire's death. The book kept progressing throughout, though a little bit is predictable, but the climax was kind of blurry and happened too quickly. There weren't enough details, and the ending was a little weird, but otherwise it's fine.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I had a hard time reading this book. I still do. It's is sitting

    I had a hard time reading this book. I still do. It's is sitting on my desk waiting to be finshed. If it were a alive i would tell it to not hold it's breath. This book just got so confusing and hard to read at times and others just plain annoying. I literally skipped to the end just to see what happened and get it over with. I agree with Nikkayme.. it did have potential in the beginning, but then it just goes downhill from there.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Someday, I will be a beautiful butterfly, and then everything will be better.

    The Butterfly Clues may start off somewhat slow and confusing, but eventually the story will take you to unexpected heights with the same frantic energy as its insect namesake. Kate Ellison builds this careful story about a girl with heart-breaking fragility and gives it a quiet, mesmerizing strength and hope that justice will prevail.

    {A riveting main character.} Lo may not seem all that together at first, but I got used to her OCD quirks and found them rather adorable as say those of MONK. What I find remarkable is that she embraces the OCD with open arms and radiates this sense of courage where nothing seems impossible. While she may lead her life by certain numbers, Lo somehow manages to look danger in the eye and ask for the truth behind the murder. She was full of surprises, and I enjoyed every second of discovering what she chose to do next!

    {A solid whodunit with suspects in spades.} I thought The Butterfly Clues offered a whole lot of plausible outcomes where no one could be trusted 100%. Add the anxious world of Lo to the mix, then hold onto the pages as the story flits from one suspicion to the next as Lo gets closer to the truth. What I love even more is how this murder may have started as a passing obsession for Lo, but turns into something much more personal than she anticipated.

    {Was high school necessary?} Of course, I expect Lo to be going through the motions of high school - but throwing in some mean girls and a boy making eyes at Lo seemed extraneous. I suppose it shows that Lo had a normal HS experience and her peers were not peachy-keen, but in the grand scheme of things I don't think they moved the plot anywhere.

    {Everyone seems to have hair issues.} You know, normally I don't notice these things as much or feel the desire to mention them - but this one stuck out almost like Alfalfa's cowlick. I don't know if this was intentional, but everyone seemed to have some sort of dirty, non-glamorous hair. From limp to grungy to stringy to dreadlocks (okay, maybe those doesn't count.), it was just hard to miss the repeat descriptions in the first few chapters. Then again, I am reading an ARC so it may be addressed in the finalized version.

    The Butterfly Clues will wrap readers within in pages like a cocoon as Lo unravels the mystery behind Sapphire's death. Kate Ellison has written a remarkable debut with a main character who captures both compassion and admiration as she shines through adversity with her can-do attitude.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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