The Wonder of Paper Butterflies

Editor Alix Reid on Paper Butterflies

By Alix Reid, Editorial Director of Carolrhoda Lab™

I knew from the first few paragraphs of Carnegie Medal nominee Paper Butterflies  that I wanted to publish the novel in the US.

Paper Butterflies excerpt

Here is the heart-wrenching beginning of the book:

“Drink it.” She’s holding the glass out to me. It’s so full that if she tipped her hand just a bit the water would trickle down the side. “Now.”

“But I’m not thirsty.” I want my voice to be big, but it’s just a whisper.

Kathleen bends so low that her eyes are level with mine. Her eyelashes are black. The blush on her cheeks is too red, like two little apples sitting in puddles of cream.

“Drink it,” she says again.

My bladder is full. She hasn’t let me use the toilet since I got up this morning and I’ve already had my glass of warm milk.

Why I could not put this book down

The story is bleak. June’s life at home is with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one—and a secret one. They physically abuse her, forcing her to eat food to the point that June throws up, making her eat on the floor and eat dog food, and finding other ways to torment her. June fantasizes about telling her teachers, her principal, a nurse who treats her for an injury, and her father, but she can’t find the words to tell them, and is trapped in silence in this terrible situation. The only bright spot in her life is Blister, a boy she meets in the woods, and his loving chaotic family. Then a terrible tragedy occurs, and June finds herself fighting for her life.

I started reading this amazing book by Lisa Heathfield and could not put it down. Despite the tragedies in this Carnegie Medal nominee, it offers hope, and the writing is beautiful. It fits perfectly on our Carolrhoda Lab list, as Lab excels at publishing challenging and unexpected fiction. I feel so lucky to have the book on our list and encourage you to read this sample chapter.

I hope the book captivates you as much as it did me!

Paper Butterflies will be available in the US on October 1. 

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