Butterfly Clues
by Ellison, Kate

Having experienced compulsive behavior all her life, Lo's symptoms are getting her into trouble when she witnesses a murder while wandering dangerous quarters of Cleveland, Ohio, collecting things that do not belong to her, obsessing about her brother's death.

Kate Ellison trained as an actor in Chicago and has walked across the entire country of Spain. She is a painter and jewelry maker. Kate lives in Brooklyn, New York.The Butterfly Clues is her first novel.

*Starred Review* Though 16-year-old Lo lives in safe, suburban Lakewood, she is drawn to a seedier part of Cleveland called Neverland, where her beloved older brother died of a drug overdose. In an incident that sets off a chain of events, Lo is grazed by a bullet while standing outside the house of a stripper who is not much older than she. Inside, Sapphire is being murdered. Lo's proximity to the crime only feeds her compulsions, which force her to repeat words, count, collect, and steal. After Lo comes into possession of some of the dead girl's things, she becomes obsessed with solving the crime, at increasing peril to herself. First-time author Ellison would have had a fine mystery if she had simply stuck with Lo's quest to find the killer-while falling for an adorable street artist, Flynt. But by layering the narrative with subplots about a broken family and high-school horrors, all the while revealing what it's like to live inside the head of someone whose life is circled and squared by embarrassing urges, she provides a fascinating, fully fleshed-out story. The one false note comes in the not-unexpected reveal of the killer, who borders on clownish by the conclusion. But Ellison has the art of the page-turner down flat, and readers will be swept up by both the terror-and the romance. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

An engaging mystery starring a teen girl with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Wandering in an unfamiliar Cleveland neighborhood, Lo, who's recently lost her brother, happens dangerously close to a shooting. When the next day's paper reports the murder of a 19-year-old named Sapphire in the house Lo visited, Lo finds herself compelled to find out more. Her journey takes her to Neverland, a seedy neighborhood where runaway teens and other misfits make their homes. There, she meets a boy, Flynt, who calls her pretty but may be lying about his connection to the dead woman, and ventures inside Sapphire's house and the strip club where she worked. As Lo becomes more deeply entangled in the mystery and begins to attract the attention of the murderer, her repetitive behaviors are ever-present: She taps her thigh in numbered patterns, whispers the word "banana," steals objects and arranges them, then rearranges them in her room. Though Lo's behaviors sometimes slow her down and embarrass her when others notice, this is no problem novel: The behaviors are simply a part of her experience, to which some characters react with hostility and others with tenderness and understanding. Lo encounters hints and artifacts relevant to the case a bit too often to be believed, but the mystery is well plotted, with danger escalating and information revealed at a consistent pace. A pleasing mix of realism, tension, intrigue and romance. (Mystery. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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