Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield
Published by Electric Monkey 2016 (E-Book)
Thank you to Electric Monkey for sending me this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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?
Sometimes you just want to read a book that will tug on your heartstrings and cause you to shed a tear or two. That's certainly what I was expecting when I received Paper Butterflies. The title grabbed my attention and as soon as I read the synopsis I knew I needed to read it. I was in the mood for a good sob (as strange as that sounds) and this book sounded perfect.
June's life at home is far from perfect. Her mother having died she now lives with her dad, stepmother Kathleen and stepsister Megan. Behind closed doors June is abused both mentally and physically by Kathleen and Megan, with her dad oblivious to any of it. Add that to the bullying she experiences at school and you get one depressed, lonely young girl with no hope. However, when June meets Blister things start to change. As their relationship blossoms she starts to realise that maybe she can find hope and fly far away from her home life and finally be free.
I'm going to be honest here, this book was rather dark, raw and dramatic. There is no creeping around the theme of abuse and some scenes were rather traumatic to read, but I was so captivated that I carried on. I found myself tearing up a lot whilst reading and I got so emotionally invested into June's story that I just wanted her to finally find happiness and be free of her pain. I have never been a victim of abuse and I don't think you can fully understand it unless you have been through it, however reading this is, in my opinion the closest you can get to it without experiencing it.
June is a character that you can't help but love and root for. Like I said, I became so emotionally invested into her story that I just wanted her to have a happy ending. She is the kind of character, that can still see hope even though they are going through terrible times. Her relationship with Blister is probably one of the cutest and also courageous relationships I have read about. I loved how he showed her hope and love when no one else did. He cared for her truly and deeply and you could tell she felt the same. Their relationship was the definition of true love and it warmed my heart.
The themes mentioned in Paper Butterflies such as abuse, racism and bullying really make you think about how the victim feels and also why people do it? I knew something must have stemmed from Kathleen's past to make her treat June the way she did and it really did get my mind going. The author wrote the story with such honesty and emotion that I couldn't help but get a lump in my throat and cry.
Paper Butterflies took me on an emotional rollercoaster that although I should've got off, I didn't. It was beautifully written with lots of emotion and honesty. Also, that ending! Let's just say that it shocked me to the core. If you feel like you can handle the themes mentioned in Paper Butterflies you should most certainly read it.
Before becoming a mum to her three sons, Lisa Heathfield was a secondary school English teacher and loved inspiring teenagers to read.
Lisa Heathfield launched her writing career with SEED in 2015. Published by Egmont it is a stunning YA debut about a life in cult. PAPER BUTTERFLIES is her beautiful and heart-breaking second novel.
Lisa lives in Brighton with her family.