Review: Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett

Goodreads: Plum Coyle is on the edge of adolescence. Her fourteenth birthday is approaching, when her old life and her old body will fall away, and she will become graceful, powerful, and at ease. The strength of the objects she stores in a briefcase under her bed —a crystal lamb, a yoyo, an antique watch, a coin —will make sure of it. Over the next couple of weeks, Plum’s life will change. Her beautiful neighbor Maureen will begin to show Plum how she might fly. The older brothers she adores will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends, her worst enemies, will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down.

I usually don’t talk about book covers here except for my end of the year best and worst covers video. However Butterfly has such an amazing cover I can’t pass up the chance to speak about it. The window, the light it seems so uplifting. I think it mirrors Plum’s transition perfectly.

I really enjoyed Plum’s story. What little girl hasn’t felt a bit of low self esteem during what I like to call the awkward years. Plum believes that when she turns fourteen her body full of baby fat will fall away and she will go from the ugly duckling straight into swan-hood over night. She tries to diet by not eating her lunch which was the idea of her neighbor Maureen who is older, more sophisticated and ethereally beautiful.

This is just the first advice Maureen gives to Plum. Maureen takes hold of Plum and starts deciding bits of her life. Who her friends should be, what she should eat, what she should wear. I began to wonder what the woman was doing and when Hartnett let the proverbial cat out of the bag I had no clue it was coming.

The reader knows what is going on just a bit before our protagonist and I quite liked it that way. Gauging how Plum will react to a situation is very hard. I had a bit of a hard time holding to the story at some points just because of all the Australian references that I couldn’t grasp immediately.

The ending of the book left me wondering what in the heck actually happened and what the point was? I am so conflicted, I loved Plum, I loved her world, I was enamored with the writing but I just don’t understand what happened or why. Maybe I am not meant to. Maybe there is a bigger picture that is just going straight over my proverbial head.

If you like Beth Kephart you will like Butterfly.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review.

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