I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to reading this eARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of this book.
Goodreads desciption of this book 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?
Paper Butterflies is an unforgettable read, perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Jandy Nelson, Sarah Crossan and Louise O’Neill.”
I have had a lot of feelings towards this book, which actually led me to write one of my discussion posts a few days ago, about whether or not books should have age restrictions or warnings put on them. This book turned out to have alot of graphic scenes that were based around a sensitive topic, child abuse. The child abuse that was suffered in this book were physical, mental and emotional child abuse, so thankfully there was no sexual child abuse suffered on top of all that. I know that the description indicates a dark home life, but I didn’t realise how vivid and graphic some of the scenes were going to be and as a reader, it genuinely made me feel uncomfortable reading about them. At least at first.
The book is being told and written from June’s point of view, the young girl who is suffering abuse both in her home life and while in school from bullies. I believe that the bullying in school is because of the abuse that she suffered at home, which purposely made her an easy target for bullies. You get to hear June’s thoughts about everything, to feel how she feels and hear everything that happens to her and how she is suffering. It’s almost as though everything is happening to you. It makes this book all that much more personal and emotional. You therefore get the best character development and connection with June. You also get to see that as June grows up, the age and writing grows up with her, which is done brilliantly.
June has this one bit of happiness in her life, away from all the abuse and bullying, but she has to keep it separate from everything and everyone who knows her. She mets this boy, Blister, one day in the forest and even though he may be a stranger, he is the only person who is nice to her. He likes her for her, just like she likes him for who he is. They become instant friends. June mets Blisters family, Mr and Mrs Wick, who have seven children, including Blister, who come to also love June. June starts to spend more time at the Wicks household, and she learns to separate herself, keeping hold of that happiness while everything else is happening to her. Never telling anyone of her secret life. Never letting them risk destroying that as well. Never telling the Wicks or anyone else of the misery that she is suffering. Afraid they won’t believe her, or afraid that something worse may happen.
This book is one of the few books that actually made me cry and just made me an emotional mess, right up until the end. There is so much emotion in this book that it just screamed out of every page of the book and had me in tears. There just seemed like there was so much truth and even though I didn’t want to read it, that’s what made it so real. It just pulled on the heart strings and was so thought provoking and it is definitely a book that’s going to stay with me for a while. Even though I wanted to turn and run after the first few pages, I am so glad that I stuck with it and read it all the way through. It’s because of the book in its entirety, that’s why I’m rating it so highly.
There was a note from the publisher saying that “this book contains adult themes”, which maybe isn’t a clear enough of a warning for what’s in this book, but there is a warning. I was therefore shocked when I discovered that one of the genres this book is classed under is Children’s Fiction.
I am giving this book a very well and massively deserved 5 out of 5 stars! Now where are my tissues at… 😥 😥