This book has ruined my life. I think I may have read it in about two hours and not once did I get up to get a drink or change reading position. I just lay down and binge-read it. The story of Paper Butterflies will stay with me for a very very long time because of how raw, moving, shocking and emotional it is.
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?
Now, when the blurb says that June has a dark home life, it really does mean it. If you follow me on Goodreads at all, you will know that I commented on my progress about 30 pages in saying how disturbing it was. This book is full of abuse, and it starts pretty much at the very beginning. I was absolutely disgusted by how Kathleen treated June and I felt like I was going to be sick half of the time. I genuinely cried for her and I wanted things to get better. And then June met Blister and she was happy. Blister was like a rock for her over the years but I just wish that June had opened up completely to Blister about her abuse. I know that it’s mega mega hard to be open about things like that, but Blister could have really helped her.
June’s dad just annoyed me so much. I know that he didn’t know the abuse was going on but whenever June tried to tell him that her step-family hated her and that they were mean to her, the Dad just brushed it off and told June to stop being silly. I mean, c’mon! That’s just crazy! How can a parent be so careless?! He would tell June all of the time how much he loved her but then didn’t even listen to what she was saying. Well done, Dad. Well done.
“Your life is precious. Every day that you’re on earth is precious. You have a place. You’re wanted.”
– Lisa Heathfield, Paper Butterflies
The plot itself was a huge rollercoaster. I can’t say too much about the plot because of spoilers but when *that thing* happened to June, I cried for her. I felt like it wasn’t fair – even though, it kinda was. But still! I just… ugghhh…. I can’t even form words that express how I felt when I was reading it. Another thing that I couldn’t wrap my head around was what a certain character was saying about forgiving Kathleen. Ummmm no. I’m sorry, but how can you forgive the person that abused you for years and years?! I just can’t understand how anyone could do that, I really don’t. I also hated how June was bullied and pretty much tortured because she was the only black member of her family (her deceased mother was black, but her Dad, step-mother and step-sister are white) and she also goes to a predominantly white school where there are just sooooo many vile people who are absolutely horrible towards June and the scenes where June is at school just shows how the school failed her as well as her Dad.
And. That. Ending. WHAT?!! I NEED ANOTHER BOOK. I NEED A BOOK TWO. Because Paper Butterflies just can’t end like that, it can’t. I won’t let it. Lisa, you can’t just write an ending like that and expect your readers not to go crazy and want a second book! One of the things that shocked me the most at the end was what Megan said, and again, I can’t discuss this because of spoilers, but what she said had me reeling, and it was kind of unbelievable but at the same time, I did believe her. Strange.
Overall, this is probably one of the best books that I have read this year; it really is. There are just so many things about it that make it important, eye-opening and gut-wrenching and I think it’s a book that everyone should read. If you’re going to read one Young Adult contemporary soon, make it this one and I promise that you won’t regret it.
Warning: this book contains triggers for mental and physical abuse, mental illness, and death.
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review