After one of my most trustworthy bookblogger Jill [Letterheart] finished reading Paper Butterflies with tears streaming down her face she told us repeately how badly we have to read this book. I ended up buying the paperback as both of us were strolling down the streets of London back in November. Only after Becca [Beccas Leselichtung] picked up the book at Niccis [Trallafittibooks] living room and fell for the story, I needed to start reading it too. And am incredibly happy that I finally read through this infinitely important story of June.
Title: Paper Butterflies | Author: Lisa Heathfield| Number of pages: 312 | Genre: Young Literature | Publisher: Egmont| Price: 11,67 $ [amazon] | ISBN: 978-1405275392 |
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? [goodreads]
Emotional. Shocking. Real.
I didn’t know a single thing about this book before I started reading it. All my hope just depended on Jills good sense for books. Plus: I didn’t want to know what the story was about. Getting surprised is what I wanted to. And sure I was. Stunned more even. The surprise was setting in after the very first pages. The life of June is filled with phsysical and mental torments. There were moments I needed to put the book aside so I could breath again. I felt dizzier with every new problem June had to face. And every time when I thought wow that was tough, sure that was the highest point the author wants to push us, June can’t go through more pain, more violance, Lisa Heathfield just taught us the opposite: It always gets worse.
„Thank you“, I say, and I look hard into her eyes. Please ask me, I beg her. Ask me now and I’ll tell you everything.
– June | Paper Butterflies | Lisa Heathfield | page 9
The author picks out bullying and child abuse as central themes of the book. She is writing about these huge problems with an outspokenness that impressed me. The book is about a truth most of us don’t want to look at. We don’t want to see one of those problems. But Lisa Heathfield is forcing us not to hide away and pretend that we didn’t notice. She is using a simply language without disguising the message behind ist.
One moment we are in a scene of a complete ordinary situation and in the next moment everything changes without an early warning or a hint or anything at all to prepare us for what is coming. The reader gets thrown completely unprepared into Junes nightmares. We become us vulnerably as June is. By feeling the despair and fury of June we got to understand her utter hopelessness.
„Lying will only make it worse.“ There’s such disappointment in her voice that it almost makes me cry. „I’m not lying“, I say, but I can tell by her eyes that she doesn’t believe me.
-June | Paper Butterflies | Lisa Heathfield | page 16
How is it even possible to go through life when everything at anytime is followed by oppression and one disaster after another? It works if someone is entering your life who is so good, soo impossibly good, that he could outweigh everything else. And that is the point at which Blister turns up unexpectedly. He is so lovely, so innocent and so so good!
June and Blister get to know each other by coincidence, or maybe you could name it fate.
Blister is Junes balance for life. No matter what strikes Junes life, Blister is able to making for everything up. He is showing her that life can be good.
One day, I’ll shout and scream that I exist. One day, they’ll know I’m here.
– June | Paper Butterflies | Lisa Heathfield | page 32
He is her best friend. Her only support. And he is being all that without knowing the entire truth and being only a child all by himself. But Lisa Heathfield shows how much children are capable of and above all how much they can endure. She reveals the strength and amount of braveness of children. It is almost impossible to imagine how much June suffers and especially that she still has the will to move on. During a few situations even I thought that I am no longer capable of reading about Junes life. Just by reading it. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to live a life like this. To be this person. Sure this novel is made up. But. But there are people like June out there, suffering through a life similar to the one in this novel. And that is the point where my heart starts to melt and I want to cry all night long.
And then there is Blister. A little boy who is giving her a little sparkle of hope just by being who he is. More over by looking closely at June without judging her. Without giving it a second thought about who she is. He is nice to her because she is a person. And that is reason enough for him.
„It’s impossible to be so mean to someone and not feel bad somewhere. Deep down, right inside them, I bet they wish they didn’t do it.“
„Yes. And Lauren. And they better watch out, because karma will be waiting for them.“
„My mom told me about it.“ Blister sits up and crosses his legs. The anger has left him and his face looks serious. „She says that the bad things you do will always come back to you. Even if it’s years in the future. That’s why you’ve got to be nice.“
– Blister & June | Paper Butterflies | Lisa Heathfield | page 57
The story is taking a course I wasn’t prepared for. The twist was hitting me so hard that for a moment I couldn’t continue reading. I didn’t want to. I couldn’t. It was to much to bear. For a good part of the book I thought: It is going to be good. There will come the better times. The good ones. And just as I thought: June is going to be happy! Lisa Heathfield just showed us her best performance in letting us suffer a little bit more. I honestly for one moment didn’t want to know the ending. After I put myself back together a little bit I, of course, kept on reading and didn’t look up until I finished.
„Life’s unfair at times“, Mickey says, her words scraping the air. „But you mustn’t let the bad weigh your life down. Try to fill the other side of the scales with good things.“
– Mickey | Paper Butterflies | Lisa Heathfield | page 127
Although I kept thinking a lot about the ending I am still not sure how to feel about it. At first I have been surprised. Then relieve hit me. Relieve of finally getting to the end and never have to see all this pain again. Though I loved the entire book, especially the bold message behind it, one negative point would be the end. It still doesn’t feel as though it fits right.
Paper Butterflies is a book that you just can’t read in-between. It will be one of the most moving stories you have ever read about. Lisa Heathfield is pointing at truths no one likes to see. She is forcing the reader to look very closely to see the naked truth about life. She isn’t only showing the cruelty of it but also a way to handle it. Paper Butterflies is a book I want to recommend to every living person. It is one of the most important books I’ve ever read.