For my birthday a few months ago, my friends and co-workers Jo and Siobhan bought me two books, both by Lisa Heathfield: Paper Butterflies and Seed. Lisa Heathfield is one of Jo’s favourite authors, and I was so happy that she sent me her books! I’ve finally got around to reading them. Lisa Heathfield is going to be at YALC, so now was the perfect time to read them!
You know when you love everything about a book, but you’re left speechless and you can’t actually think of what to write or say about it? That’s how I felt with Paper Butterflies and Seed. So, I thought the best thing to do is to write slightly extended snippet reviews. If you’re not sure what I mean by a snippet review, you can find my first ones here.
June’s life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one—and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.
But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom… But at what price?
This was the first book I read by Lisa Heathfield and oh my god, I’m so glad it was. I read the book in less than 2 days – I flew through it. The themes of familial abuse and racism were awful, but presented so well that some parts almost made me cry. I even felt physically sick at one part (I won’t go into details, but it involved ribbon being stuffed into June’s mouth so she couldn’t breathe).
The whole book was so heavy, but there were moments of light when she was with her best friend Blister – those were the parts I looked forward to. Everything was described in perfect detail so I could imagine everything, from June’s curly hair to the place she lives and the roads on which she and Blister ride their bikes.
It had the most shocking twist I think I’ve read in a long time (if not ever), and I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t expect it at all! I had to put the book down at the end and process what I’d just read. If you want a book full of cheer and fun, maybe wait until you’re in the mood for something a bit heavier. But if you want gripping, terrifying and realistic writing like you’ve probably never seen before, then I’d definitely recommend picking up a copy!
Buy a copy of Paper Butterflies or read more about it:*
A thrilling story of life in a cult.
Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it’s too late.
I think I actually loved this even more than Paper Butterflies! The story begins with Pearl, 15, starting her period for the first time. She thinks she’s dying, and she has to go through a whole ritual to ‘become a woman’ and ‘bless her womb’ for good fertility. The story throws us straight into this world of nature worship, and it felt a bit uncomfortable. The fact I actually felt a bit repulsed and shocked by the way they live made me realise how amazing Heathfield’s writing really is.
When Outsiders come and join the family at Seed, Ellis, a boy of similar age to Pearl, isn’t convinced. His mother and his sister fit right in, but he’s unsure. I felt a bit sorry for Pearl at some points; when Ellis tried to encourage her that none of what she does is normal and there’s so much more outside of Seed, she breaks down. Seed is all she’s ever known and I felt awful for her.
The ending… oh my god, the ending! The story raced towards the end and everything happened so quickly. I won’t spoil it, but if you love a shocker of an ending, you’ll definitely love this! This book is heavy and sometimes a little bit upsetting, but it’s definitely a masterpiece and I’m so glad I got to read it.
Buy a copy of Seed or read more about it:*
Have you read these books? Do you love them as much as I did? I’m currently reading Lisa Heathfield’s brand new book, Flight of a Starling, which I’ll be reviewing on my blog as soon as I can!
*Note: Affiliate links used – click here for details. 🙂