Title: Paper Butterflies
Author: Lisa Heathfield
Published by: Electric Monkey
Release date: 30th June 2016
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?
Firstly, thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of Paper Butterflies to review via NetGalley!
Paper Butterflies was absolutely heart wrenching, gripping, and will shatter your heart many times. But it’s also injected with a hope in places that promises to mend your heart a little every time it breaks.
The chapters in this book flip between before and after, leading up to an event which changes everything for June. The build up to this event – and what came after – was entirely riveting and emotional. The main character, June is forced to endure awful abuse, both mental and physical, at home and at school, which was so, so difficult to read. Her stepmother, Kathleen, and stepsister, Megan, were horrible to her.They constantly prod her with insults to make her feel self conscious about herself. Honestly, they made me so angry and hurt on behalf of June. And it was so frustrating that no one – not June’s dad, nor her teachers – seemed to notice. We, the reader, could see what was happening, knew how scared June was, how she couldn’t speak up due to fear. But no one else could see, because it was hidden so well.
What amazed me, though, was how resilient June was. I loved seeing her develop as a character from the scared girl who was almost fooled into believing what Kathleen and the bullies said about her, to a young woman who was so courageous and determined to not let Kathleen or the bullies win, despite the deep fear that kept her from speaking out. She endured so much and I just wanted her to be safe and happy!
There are little bursts of hope and light for June in her time spent with Blister. I loved Blister, and his positivity, support and loyalty- his friendship with June was the sweetest thing. They were so great. And I loved the relationship June had with Blister’s family, the Wicks’ – they were all amazing, they took her in and made her feel welcome and accepted. I hardly ever cry happy tears from a book, but seeing how happy and carefree June was with Blister and his family had me beaming – and I admit, a few tears did fall. (It might have been more than a few.)
Heathfield has a beautiful writing style, one that pulls you in between the pages and doesn’t let go, and told June’s story in a way that was honest and heartfelt. I couldn’t stop reading – I had to know if June would be okay. I had to know how the story ended.
Paper Butterflies is book that is guaranteed to break your heart. But it has a lot of important messages that, somehow, make it a little better. I cried sad, heartbroken tears, I cried happy and relieved tears, and I could talk about this book all day – just read it.