Synopsis from Goodreads:
Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad’s consulting job means she’s grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she’s learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place—possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.
But in the year since her brother Oren’s death, Lo’s hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as “Sapphire”—a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can’t get the murder out of her mind.
As she attempts to piece together the mysterious “butterfly clues,” with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined—a world, she’ll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother’s tragic death.
Review: I’m not sure I know where to start with this book. I will start by saying that I really enjoyed it. I found the plot to be fairly unique, as were the characters. The book read very quickly. I found the writing to be exceptional.
Let’s start with characters. I found Lo to be so endearing and mind-boggling. One of the first things you learn about Lo is that she suffers from OCD. I have no real world experience with OCD. I don’t know anyone who suffers from it. I can say that being inside of Lo’s head and experiencing her OCD was confusing and exhausting, but in a good way. Ellison did a tremendous job of portraying what it is like to suffer from this disorder. Ellison should also be commended for making Lo be more than her disorder. Lo is an amazing girl who is quirky and different and just happens to have OCD. Ellison didn’t allow Lo to be defined by her disorder but was still able to give a very detailed view of what the disorder did to Lo or how it caused Lo to behave. I read Cryer’s Cross last year, which also features a main character with OCD, and I did not get the same sense of the disorder from Cryer’s Cross that I did from this book. Ellison’s work was outstanding in that respect.
I enjoyed the range of characters in this book. You have Lo who comes from a good family, but one that is haunted by a tragedy, all the way down to the seedy underbelly of strip clubs and the people who inhabit that world. It was truly excellent range and provided a nice amount of depth to the novel.
I found the plot to be interesting. This book was very much a mystery and a psychological thriller, which I don’t encounter a whole lot in the YA genre, so I found that alone to be different and engaging. The pacing of the plot was excellent. Ellison craft the plot in such a way that something, big or small, was always spurring you on to the next page.
I really enjoyed this book. I would absolutely recommend it and I will definitely be checking out other works by Ellison.