Thank you Harper Books for sending me a free copy of The Butterfly Girl in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
From the highly praised author of The Child Finder and The Enchanted comes The Butterfly Girl, a riveting novel that ripples with truth, exploring the depths of love and sacrifice in the face of a past that cannot be left dead and buried. A year ago, Naomi, the investigator with an uncanny ability for finding missing children, made a promise that she would not take another case until she finds the younger sister who has been missing for years. Naomi has no picture, not even a name. All she has is a vague memory of a strawberry field at night, black dirt under her bare feet as she ran for her life.
The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where scores of homeless children wander the streets like ghosts, searching for money, food, and companionship. The sharp-eyed investigator soon discovers that young girls have been going missing for months, many later found in the dirty waters of the river. Though she does not want to get involved, Naomi is unable to resist the pull of children in need—and the fear she sees in the eyes of a twelve-year old girl named Celia. Running from an abusive stepfather and an addict mother, Celia has nothing but hope in the butterflies—her guides and guardians on the dangerous streets. She sees them all around her, tiny iridescent wisps of hope that soften the edges of this hard world and illuminate a cherished memory from her childhood—the Butterfly Museum, a place where everything is safe and nothing can hurt her.
As danger creeps closer, Naomi and Celia find echoes of themselves in one another, forcing them each to consider the question: Can you still be lost even when you’ve been found? But will they find the answer too late?
You guys. This book got me. It got me in the feelings and I am still thinking about this book days later. I read The Child Finder almost a year ago and I really liked it. It was softer than the average thriller: more real and human and relatable. I was hoping that The Butterfly Girl would have some of those same qualities. Well, it did and them some.
While Naomi is searching for her long lost sister, she crosses the path of a ‘street girl’ named Celia. I felt so strongly for Celia’s situation and her life and it just made me feel so sad at times, knowing that there are kids out there going through the same exact thing. Naomi’s actions with Celia were so humblingly realistic and I was loving Naomi’s character even more this time around.
As I finished the last few pages, I had tears in my eyes. The ending is only just the beginning in this case, and I won’t say more so I don’t spoil it for you, but my heart felt so heavy. Then I read the acknowledgment page and just lost it. The author has been in similar positions as her characters in her real life, thus inspiring her to write these stories. I am just at a loss for anymore words.
Read BOTH of these books, they are real, visceral and important stories.
***NOTE*** This book does contain abuse towards children. If this is something you cannot handle and is a trigger for you, you may not want to read these books.