Review: M Anjelais – Breaking Butterflies

Breaking Butterflies
M Anjelais
Sphinx has looked up to Cadence all her life, even as he alternatively praised and condemned her. Unexpectedly, he is dying. How could something so beautiful die? How could it work out like that?
Although this novel was told from the perspective of Sphinx, it wasn’t really about her. It was only what she could say about Cadence and for Cadence. This raw talent, formed because he can’t feel anything.
The insight shown by Sphinx into the disturbing life lead by this family away from home is at times surprising. Her flashes of brilliance when she looks at the paintings in the end, nothing short of astounding. Also the thing about having an art Gallery use Cadence’s work – and how it can only occur after everything has happened.

The imagery, symbolism and continuity of the eggs that Sphinx feels seems to be something that the author has taped on, in order to read forwards and backwards in time, linking across the generations. For me though, all that was needed was the strength of feeling between the two teenagers. The emotion felt by Sphinx is almost palpable, as is Cadence’s hostility.

This book was painful and raw to read. It reminded me a little of Looking for JJ, in that the topic tacked wasn’t comfortable or typical for a teen read. It made me uncomfortable for the rest of the day while I tried to process what I felt. I empathised with Cadence even as I hated him – just as Sphinx does.
I wasn’t that convinced by Sphinx’s conversations with her parents. Why were they ok with this? How could they still see him as a threat? He’s weak, dying. Surely Sphinx should have been better organized.
I’d love to see a sequel. How will Sphinx grow up? What is her purpose? How will she move past this? What will happen to Leigh? Will she move back to the US to be with her best friend? Are all the plans spoiled?
Although you felt sure that things would turn out ok, or as ok as they could be with someone dying, there was an edge that the author captured. You know something terrible could happen, might happen, will happen, but you can’t look away. Instead you keep desperately reading, hoping that something might save the day.
The statistic that 1 in 25 people is a psychopath is a disturbing one. Hell, that means that out of the people I work with, I must be the psychopath! Isn’t it the saying that if you’re looking for the drunkest person at the party, it’s you?
I received a copy from Scholastic. Slowly, they and I seem to be finding novels that I really enjoy reading and reviewing. This one was right up my alley.

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