The Butterfly Clues
By Kate Ellison
17-year-old, Lo cannot walk through a door without performing a complicated routine; she collects random chatzkies and struggles to fit in socially—all elements of her obsessive compulsive disorder. Perhaps this is why, when a stripper named Sapphire is murdered in Neverland, where Lo hangs out, Lo obsesses over the case, determined to find the killer. Certainly Lo’s mental illness makes for an interesting ride; her disorder not only builds tension and conflict in the story, but it becomes a serious problem when Lo gets into dangerous spots. Lo spends a lot of time in Neverland, outside of Cleveland, a place with seedy strip clubs, crack houses, and drug-addled artists. Lo counts herself as one of these misfits; her parents have hardly noticed her since the death of her older brother years ago, and in Neverland she doesn’t have to hide her rituals from anyone—especially not from Flint, the handsome, eccentric artist who agrees to help her find Sapphire’s killer. But as the strange and sometimes over-the-top coincidences stack up, Lo discovers that her obsession to solve Sapphire’s death may have nothing at all to do with her mental illness. While necessary to the story, sometimes Lo’s rituals become tedious for the reader, and the novel concludes on a very rosy note. Otherwise, the identity of the killer is hard to predict, and this makes the work a solid read.