I received this book in exchange for a honest review. This does not influence my opinion at all.
Today is the book birthday of The Butterfly Shell by Maureen White and not only did I love this book, I also have a copy to give away to one of you! How can you win one? Look at the Rafflecopter information after the review! (This is for the UK only! Sorry for all international readers, but I have to send it myself and can only send it to the UK!)
There are some things about me you should know.
1. I always wear my butterfly shell - even when I’m swimming or sleeping
2. I don’t cut myself anymore
3. I believe in ghosts.
It's the beginning of First Year. Marie loves reading, hates Rachel and her gang, The Secret Six, and isn’t sure how she feels about Stella, who’s more than a little odd.
Between the mean girls tormenting her by day and a ghostly cry waking her at night, Marie’s first year at secondary school is far from what she had expected …
The story of a strange year and a very special shell.
I'm not sure what's wrong with me lately, but almost every synopsis of books I'm reading makes me sigh in frustration. And The Butterfly Shell was just another one to add on the bunch. "Great, cutting, bullying,... Just another YA novel." Except that I was completely wrong about The Butterfly Shell.
What I loved about this book is that it has all the typical YA elements (bullying, mental health issues, school,...) and completely turns them on its head. Nothing about this book is typical or as you expect it to be. Though Marie is a young teenager, her voice is very mature and easy to read. She talks about her previous year with surprising insight, but she is still clearly a teen and doesn't understand certain things.
Though a majority of the story takes place in school, I was in love with the family narrative in this book. Marie's parents previously had a daughter Marie who died when she was still a baby. It's nice to read a teen who is aware of this and who is actively dealing with this issue. This obviously ties in with the cries Marie hears at night, but it's never too paranormal. The cries seem to be more a reflection of Marie and her inner state than the start of a ghost story.
And not that I hate ghost stories, but this book is just so raw that I like that it all stayed realistically. Marie deals with some awful things and I think many teens can relate to it - whether it's the complicated family situation, the bullying, the struggle to find friends,.... We've all been there and it's comforting to read a character who can navigate her way through it - especially as honestly as Marie does. Nothing in this book is sugar-coated or an easy-fix. Things happen and things do get resolved, but only after a lot of work and never in a fairytale way. And the good news for those YA people who think there should be hope in every book: there's hope in this one.
Clearly I adored this book and can't give it any less than five out of five stars. My expectations, based on the summary, were so low and I was honestly just blown away by it. The writing is enjoyable to read, Marie is a likeable character and the events keep you glued to the book. So there's no reason why you shouldn't try to win it!