Tinfoil Butterfly

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Sep 2019

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Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. A full review will be posted on Amazon and Goodreads
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Lately I've mostly stuck with authors I'm familiar with, but decided to take a chance with Moulton's debut. Glad I did because I really enjoyed it.
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This review is going to be short and sweet. Mostly because I read this back in September and am now just getting to writing this now. 

I found this book through one of my trusted reviewers. I found that her ratings tend to align with mine along with the interest in darker novels. While the book ratings weren’t stellar, she had me intrigued. So I picked this one up from NetGalley and gobbled it up in less than 24 hours like a starving, deprived reader. 

Tinfoil Butterfly is a decently entertaining read. Readers may have to turn a blind eye to some of the outlandishness. But the depiction of a genuine hateful human being is done in a chilling, wicked way. Our main character is about as self-absorbed and selfish as a human can possibly be but circumstance can change a person. You meet Earl, a little boy, so damaged it will break the toughest of hearts with his story. There are a few very interesting characters whose growth happens due to evil forces. It is honestly heart wrenching and jaw dropping at times. Consider this a warning to those faint of heart or triggered easily. 

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. But make no mistake this novel is dark. It deals with heavy content and then puts a scary evil spin on it. 

Thank you, NetGalley and MCD x FSG Originals for a copy of this story.
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I'd seen a few reviews of this book before I managed to finish reading and most of them labeled it as very dark and uncomfortable. While I agree that the story itself is fairly dark, I'm not sure I agree with the uncomfortable label. I thought it had a great opening, grabbing interest right away and holding me there, but then dragged for a bit before picking up again and piquing my curiosity about Earl, George, and the abandoned town in the woods. The flashbacks were sometimes difficult to muddle through and pulled me out of the story when I really would have preferred to keep following along with the present day. I feel like those overall parts of Emma's life either needed more or less time, because they didn't seem fully realized enough to interest me, but also were acting as a catalyst for her current predicament (which WAS interesting). Ultimately, I thought the story was suspenseful and kept be turning pages when focused on the present, and mostly trying to hurry through the past so I could get back to the part of the story that was intriguing.
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I am still not even sure what was real and what wasn't. Is Emma crazy, because I feel that way
sometimes? Is Earl even real? I just didn't get it, and was so confused. I am sure some readers will love its weirdness, but me, not so much.
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Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux on Sept. 10, 2019

Tinfoil Butterfly is a disturbing novel about a young woman and a child, damaged in different ways, who share a harrowing experience. The story is simple — only four characters play a significant role — but simplicity amplifies the novel’s power.

Emma Powers flees from a hospital and gets a ride with a creep who doesn’t want to let her out of his van. Emma’s goal is to get to the Badlands. The creep has seen newspaper stories about Emma and Raymond, her stepbrother. The creep eventually regrets meeting her.

Emma is messed up. She narrates the story in the first person, eventually explaining why she is messed up and why she and Raymond made it into the newspaper.

Emma meets a kid named Earl after taking the creep’s van and running out of gas at an abandoned diner. Earl is also creepy, an imaginative child who has an unhealthy obsession with death. At the same time, Earl’s talent for creating creatures from tinfoil and seemingly bringing them to life suggests that life and death are struggling for dominance in Earl’s persona. Like Emma, Earl has secrets that the reader eventually discovers, one of which alters the reader’s fundamental understanding of the character.

Earl lives with an older fellow named George, a man whose health appears to be failing. George might be the creepiest of all the characters who enter Emma’s life.

Earl and George live in a deserted house in a ghost town. It’s the kind of house where no sensible person would want to visit the cellar. So, of course, Emma explores the cellar. She doesn’t like what she finds. Events in her life roll downhill from there.

Despite the visit to the cellar, Tinfoil Butterfly isn’t a traditional horror novel, although it is marketed in that genre. The novel’s true horror is not the fear of crazed killers in remote areas (although that fear is part of the story), but the horror of living a tragic life — a broken home, an abusive parent, drug addiction, unhealthy relationships. Ordinary horrors can lead to extraordinary evil, the novel seems to say.

Yet the story is not without hope. Emma is messed up, but she does not have an evil heart. The opportunity to bring some good into another person’s life might be her path to redemption. Rachel Eve Moulton conveys the immediacy of Emma’s conflicting emotions, creating empathy for a broken woman who deserves a second chance.

The story moves quickly and creates genuine anxiety, although the ending is one a reader might predict. Conflicts essential to the plot are resolved, but what will become of Emma after the story ends is unclear. Happy endings, Moulton implies, are too much to expect. The opportunity for a new beginning might be the best anyone with a difficult life can hope to find. What the novel’s surviving characters will make of that opportunity is a story waiting to be told.

RECOMMENDED
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Following deep and significant loss, Emma finds herself hitchhiking across the country, so set on finding The Badlands that she makes an arrangement with a man who does not have her best interests at heart. In defending herself against the man, Lowell, she takes his van and soon discovers a small, likely abandoned diner a ways off the highway, which is the beginning of a nightmarish fight against evil men, the elements, and her own demons to save herself and the life of a little boy she finds in the ghost town.

I found that this novel definitely delivered on creepiness and there were certainly some thrilling scenes. Tinfoil Butterfly is so heavy on atmosphere that I could picture the scenes in my mind vividly... an abandoned town among the Black Hills during the first early snow. Many of the scenes were so surreal that I half expected to discover that they didn't actually happen. Emma is a deeply complex and disturbed eighteen year old girl that manages to pull herself out of her own selfish mindset to actively help and even begin to love a young boy, Earl, who desperately needs her help. I found Earl especially endearing, if also a little creepy. Tinfoil Butterfly is sort of a literary thriller - yes, there are bad men about - but the book is also about Emma's recovery and  personal growth as she is forced to fight to go on.
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Tinfoil Butterfly is the story of two survivors who find each other. Emma is escaping her past - drugs, possible cancer, death. Earl is a small boy...who isn't a boy and is alone. They find each other and bond over their survival.

This isn't a light-hearted book. Saying it's The Shining plus About A Boy is....not a good description. This is not a fun romp. This is a dark story, about two hurt people who find each other to create their own family.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I don't know where to start.  Emma is running away from her life and her past and she ends up at a diner in a snowstorm where she meets Earl, an 8 year old boy who is wearing a mask.  Earl's past (if an 8 year old can have a past) is seriously disturbing, including an assertion that his father killed and ate his mother and now he has to get rid of his father's body.  Oh and his mother is watching over them. Emma's back story comes out slowly.  These two bond in an unexpected way and it's that relationship which propels this dark story.  It's not horror (or is it?) but it does have some horrible things.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  An interesting read that's worth your time.
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Entertaining and creepy.  A very intriguing cover which was what initially piqued my interest I jumped right in to it. Not only is the cover art strangely mesmerising and a little bit creepy, but the stories contained within its pages is even more compelling. For once in a long time, the artwork reflects or hints towards the ominous atmosphere that builds up and surrounds you with each new turning of the page.
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TINFOIL BUTTERFLY is a heart pounding, and heart breaking, thrill ride. It was unexpected and I couldn’t put the second half down. Emma is a tragic character, who causes chaos in the Badlands as she tries to escape her past. She meets the young Earl along the way, saving him from a life of trauma and abandonment. Their relationship is the core of the story, and what makes you truly root for good things to happen to the characters in the midst of true terror.

It’s a lean, twisted adventure story that would make for an amazing indie film. It is unexpected and frightening, but also filled with heart and unique characters.
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“The pink walls are not my fault (the last owners had a much girlier little girl), but the white desk and the Guns N’ Roses poster are mine. There is a plethora of Hello Kitty junk on my dresser. The lamp is a wagon wheel—one of the only items I kept from the last house I lived in, when my father was still alive. The room is a collection of odd past interests that no longer equal me. It is lonely, this stale room.”

Bizarre, dark and just one of those stories where you can’t help but root for its train wreck, immoral hero. Beautifully written. Parts of this horror novel are almost poetic. Earl is an incredible character I won’t soon forget.
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My heart aches, truly. 

Emma is trying to escape her past. Her goal is to hitchhike her way to The Badlands. Unfortunately, she is picked up by Lowell and he turns out to be not such a nice guy. Events unfold and she finds herself on the run yet again. She stumbles upon an abandoned diner and takes refuge for the night. She wakes in the morning to discover a young boy in a tin-foil mask pointing her own gun at her. He says his name is Earl, that his mother has died and has been eaten by his father and she now lives as a crow watching over them. He claims he will help her only if she can help him in return. 

That plot description is vague, I know, but it's so hard to put words to my thoughts right now. 

The despair is palpable, the violence is wicked, and the darkness that unfolds is unrelenting. You, as a reader, are not given a moments rest. Not one moment of peace to be had. But there are sparks of hope and love trying to break free from these pages and I grasped them dearly to my heart because I was afraid that if I didn't that I would slip into a deep depression with bouts of rage and anger at the wrongness of it all. Earl stole my heart immediately and Emma, while having made so many mistakes, wanted to do right. To be good. To be loved. 

This quote made me choke on tears: 

"They make me tired." I know he means the seizures. Before Earl lets his eyes slide shut a final time he whispers, "I'm sorry." 

I know the sound of that apology. He's apologizing for his father, for the shitty way in which he's been living, for the cold night, for his seizure, for his scars, for his girls body, for his entire life." 

How gut wrenching is that? 

Just typing that made my eyes fill up and chin quiver. 

This is not a book that I would recommend to just anyone, no sirree, but I do hope it finds the right audience because I will never forget Earl and Emma. 4 *I'm just picking up the pieces of my shattered heart* Stars! 

I would like to thank NetGalley and MCD X Fsg Originals for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Not for me. This debut is not particularly well written and rather over-the-top in its attempts to shock; I had switched off before the plot really got going.
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This is a hard review to write, because I enjoy very disturbing things and did enjoy that aspect of the book, but didn’t love it as a whole.  I think the writing style was a bit confusing and not easily understood.  Overall, it’s a good read that I think those who are good at really complex stories will love!  
I will make sure I buzz it up!
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Strange, weird, odd, crazy, these are words I would use to describe this book!
Yet I couldn't put it down! Each chapter has a huge cliffhanger that is irresistible! I had to read what happened next.
This book has been compared to The Shining. It's being way overdramatic to make the comparison. Read it in one night. 
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!
All opinions are my own.
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Emma's trying to forget the past and finds herself recklessly hitchhiking across the U.S. with a guy named Lowell who has gone from harmless and dumb to a creepy potential serial killer.

Just outside the Badlands of South Dakota, Emma decides to make a run for it and ends up stranded in an abandoned town with a loaded gun and a snowstorm creeping in.

Emma takes shelter in an old diner where she meets Earl, an odd young boy wearing a tinfoil mask.  Earl creeps her out but she's desperate to find gasoline to get her out of town before the snowstorm hits.

Before long, Emma is pulled into Earl's isolated world that quickly spirals into a house of horrors.  Confronting the boy's demons, both real and imagined, brings Emma's tragic past to the surface and the two make a choice to survive.

Tinfoil Butterfly is a tough book for me to rate.  It's a horror story so obviously I was willing to suspend my disbelief for a chilling story.  I found myself several times saying out loud, "Nooooo, why would you do that?  Who does that?" when there were major red flags / creepy vibes.  (I'm that person throwing popcorn during a movie and yelling my frustrations at the screen.  From the comfort of my own home of course.)
*Yelling at book* "Get out of there girl!  I'd rather take my chances walking to the next town in a blizzard!"

Emma has a terribly sad and over-the-top disturbing past that readers learn in a series of flashbacks.  Earl's current situation is also over-the-top and heartbreaking.  I liked that the two characters found kindred spirits in each other but it felt rushed.

Overall, this read like an average horror movie:  I was entertained and appreciated the disturbing atmosphere but was never invested. 

And finally, this book is billed as "The Shining meets About a Boy" and that is completely inaccurate.  The comparisons stop at boy in an isolated location.

I'd mention this book to readers who enjoy horror with metaphysical elements.

Thanks to MCD x FSG Originals and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  Tinfoil Butterfly is scheduled for release on September 10, 2019.
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A strange novel that borders on the genre of horror.  A creative and unusual plot to highlight trauma, love and redemption.
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You know those feel-good books that leave you with a smile on your face after you read them? This is not it. As disturbing as it's possible to be, some of its powerful images are burnt into my mind, from the mask worn by Earl, a little boy that Emma meets while running from a bad guy, to the dilapidated buildings where the action takes place. Emma is not the most balanced person and some her actions are shocking. The synopsis describes this book as The Shining meets About a Boy but to me it was wholly original. I've never read About a Boy but the relationship that Emma develops with Earl is not a cute "kid conquers adult's jaded heart" trope but goes deeper... much, much deeper. The plot is full of horror but is also strangely touching. This one will definitely stay with me for a while. 
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/Farrar, Straus and Giroux!
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The Shining meets About a Boy? Really??? 

The description for this book attracted me right away and it is the main reason I was so disappointed. Publishers do themselves, nor the author, any favors by attempting to prop up a book with an over-promised representation. 

Diving into a book expecting one thing and getting another seldom ends well and Tinfoil Butterfly is a perfect example. 

The structure of the book is frustrating to say the least. The story jumps from past to present from paragraph to paragraph interrupting the natural flow of the story. It was disruptive and made it difficult for me to get into the narrative. 

I really enjoyed Earl as a character, he tore at my heartstrings. Seriously, the book would have been more compelling had it been entirely about Earl and his family. 

2.5 Stars ⭐


I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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