books, Reviews

YA Book Prize 2017: Paper Butterflies


My college is shadowing the YA Book Prize this year – you can find out more about the shortlist, how you can shadow the event and where it’ll be presented here. I’m very lucky in that I live very close by to Hay-On-Wye (which is where the Hay Festival is held in the UK every May) and even more so that my college has lots of connections to the Festival too. I may be taking part in a few more events, but I’ll keep you posted.

The first book from the YA Book Prize 2017 Shortlist that I read was Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield. It really caught my eye, both with the front cover and the first few pages. I then proceeded to run down to the library, get it out and devour it all on my train back home, two hours later.

First off, can we all just agree that the cover is just beautiful? I really like the shade of green they use. And sometimes a cover is what persuades you to pick up a book, so it’s an important factor. Don’t judge a book solely by its cover, but take it into account.

Moving from aesthetic, I had mixed feelings on this book. I really enjoyed it, a massive amount, and it broke my heart multiple times over and over again. It is really well written and touches on the subjects of emotional and physical abuse in a very tasteful and respectful way, staying true to the characters throughout, and showing the true horrors that domestic violence can cause.

June, the protagonist, starts out the story as a nine, almost ten years old, and we follow her up until she’s eighteen (maybe nineteen…?). I like this – it’s a deviation from most YA characters, who are usually within the 14-16 age bracket. Even though she does end up in this age group, it was nice to see her ‘grow up’ with the book.

However. Oh, that however. The ending felt far too sloppy and rushed, at least in my eyes. It was completely unexpected, and took me by surprise. The entire last part would have been better cut out, I think. It didn’t add anything to the story, and it was just confusing.

Overall, I think this is a 3 star book. I enjoyed the journey, but the destination was a slightly disappointment. No spoilers here, but if you want to discuss it with me then check any of my social media, or leave a comment here and I’ll get back to you!

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