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Paper Butterflies
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Paper Butterflies
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June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark oneand a secret one. Not even her dad knows the truth, and she can't find the words to tell anyone else. She's trapped like a butterfly...
June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark oneand a secret one. Not even her dad knows the truth, and she can't find the words to tell anyone else. She's trapped like a butterfly...
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  • June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark oneand a secret one. Not even her dad knows the truth, and she can't find the words to tell anyone else. She's trapped like a butterfly in a net. Then June meets Blister, a boy from a large, loving, chaotic family. In him, she finds a glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away. Because she deserves her freedom. Doesn't she?

About the Author-

  • Lisa Heathfield is a former high school English teacher who lives with her family in Brighton, England. Paper Butterflies is her second novel.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-June is trying to cope with the death of her mother while simultaneously gaining a new stepmother and stepsister. She feels left out of this newly formed familial unit both because she's biracial and owing to the increasingly cruel and alienating actions of her stepmother. June's father is too blinded by love and the facade of a happy home to notice the tension between his family members. Her miserable home life, coupled with bullies at school, lead the protagonist to slowly withdraw. June's only refuge comes from taking long bike rides. It is on one of these bike rides that she meets a young boy named Blister. The two friends bond over their love of origami, buried treasure, and make-believe. June's loving interactions with Blister and his family only further highlight the dysfunction within her own home. When a shocking revelation further alters June's relationship with her father, the nature of Blister and June's friendship changes. A horrible incident widens the divide between the two friends. This novel is written in vignette form and toggles between before and after a cataclysmic event. The story examines emotional and physical abuse from a unique perspective. However, the use of foreshadowing in combination with imaginative thematic devices jumbles the narrative too much and might leave readers confused about what's real and what isn't. VERDICT A good selection for large libraries serving young adults.-Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2017
    Can the Guardian and Britain's CILIP Carnegie Children's Book Awards be wrong? Not that this lauded and nominated book by author Heathfield isn't harrowing. It's the 14-year-spanning story of June Kingston, a mixed-race black girl whose white stepmother, Kathleen, continually racially denigrates June and her dead mother, Loretta, who was black. It is a catalog of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse from Kathleen, abetted by June's stepsister, Megan, and enabled by the obliviousness of June's white father. And yes, June's preteen friend and eventual boyfriend, Blister Wicks, a poor, creative white boy, unwaveringly supports her throughout. In chapters labeled "before" readers see the unrelenting misery of June's life, while briefer, intermittent chapters labeled "after" take them to a time after an unspecified trauma. When that reveal comes, readers may well feel sucker-punched at its disingenuousness, as the author writes around the most obvious aspect of this story. June's abuse at home, bullying and neglect at school, and what happens after are specifically misogynoirist, or anti-black female, thrown into high relief due to the lack of any other living characters of color in June's story. This is a disservice to readers, especially considering such works and resources as Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, Ava DuVernay's 13th, and African American Policy Forum, a pro-Black-women-and-girls advocacy organization. What's left for readers from this lack of nuance is the glaring voyeurism. Interracial love--and racial silence--simply aren't enough. (Fiction. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    October 1, 2017
    Grades 9-12 June narrates her story from the ages of 10 to 24, detailing the brutal physical and psychological abuse she suffers at the hands of her stepmother, Kathleen, and stepsister, Megan. From forcing her to overeat to convincing June that she and her deceased mother are worthless because they are black, Kathleen and Megan torture June every time her white father's back is turned. Afraid to say anything about the abuse to her father or teachers, June finds solace in Blister, a homeschooled boy from a large family, with whom she starts to fall in love. June's story is all the more heartbreaking because her visceral account, though fiction, is undoubtedly a reality for children suffering from abuse behind closed doors. The narrative derails considerably when an event near the end of the tale effectively forces June to internalize the idea that her silenceas a victimis to blame. Despite a heavy-handed delivery, this novel, a 2017 Carnegie Medal nominee in Great Britain, manages to end on a hopeful note.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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