Cover Image: The Butterfly Girl

The Butterfly Girl

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Member Reviews

This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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I should start by saying I had not read the previous books in this series. With that in mind, I came in to the middle of Naomi's story. She was kidnapped as a child, kept in a bunker with her little sister, and escaped by herself as a child with no memories of her previous life or captivity. Now she specializes in finding lost children. She is desperate to find her own sister a couple of decades later. On the way, she runs into a series of bodies; street children no one seems to see or miss. This is where we come to the best part of the book, Celia. She is on the streets and we get to experience what her life was and is like. She is really new most compelling thing about the book. I think I'd read more of the series to see what happens to her.
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Thank you @harpercollins for the free digital copy via @netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Naomi, also known as the child finder, is really good at what she does. She finds the missing children that no one else can. She refuses to take any more cases though until she finds her sister who has been missing for decades. Celia is a young girl, homeless, and trying to survive on the streets. Life is hard, especially trying to avoid a killer who has been targeting homeless girls in the area.
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I read the first book in this series, The Child Finder, a couple years ago and really enjoyed the writing. @rdenfeld writes about difficult subjects, but her writing is so beautiful, I can’t stop reading.
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I liked this one even more than the first book. I was so touched by Celia’s story and her life on the streets. I also think the author did a phenomenal job in weaving together the past and present timelines. I was interested in both mysteries and never felt like I wasn’t invested with either situation.
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There are a lot of content warnings with this one which I’ll include in the next slide. If you haven’t read this author yet and you like crime fiction/thriller books, then I highly recommend you give these books a try. Just go in knowing that they are heavy books with tough subject matters.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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If you ever wondered what it would be like to be a preteen girl, homeless, and living day-to-day by what you could scrounge, this book will answer that for you. Celia’s mother is an addict and held under the control of her stepfather, Teddy, a child molester. Having accused Teddy of molesting her, Celia is not believed by anyone, even her mother. She can’t live at home because Teddy is still with her mother and now out for revenge. She is determined to prevent her younger sister from suffering her fate.

Celia sleeps under an overpass with two older boys, Rich and Stoner, who try to look out for her. All three kids are tormented by bullies who roam the streets at night looking for them to assault. Celia’s one escape is to imagine butterflies surrounding her, protecting her from harm. Mental Health professionals call the chronic form of this Dissociative Disorder. Celia calls it safety.

Naomi is a private investigator who specializes in finding missing children. She herself was once abducted with her younger sister as a small child. She alone managed to escape and has gone back to Oregon, where it happened. Now 20 years later, she is looking for traces of the sister she left behind in addition to investigating a case of missing homeless girls. She meets Celia, and they establish a tentative friendship based on need. Celia needs to find someone she can trust, and Naomi is looking for answers.
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I didn’t enjoy The Butterfly Girl quite as much as The Child Finder, but I would still recommend this book! Beautifully written although the subject matter was difficult.
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The Butterfly Girl is the second in a series and really works best if you've read The Child Finder first. And you know what? I loved that! I get that it's normal for series novels to have that moment (or ten) where the story "so far" is laid out for new readers but The Butterfly Girl has too much going on for that and trusts (for better or worse--I say for better!) that readers will keep up or have a refresher course on their own.

If you liked The Child Finder, this is absolutely worth checking out. And if you enjoy diving in and want to have more to explore when you're done, The Butterfly Girl is worth your time too.
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The second in the Naomi Cottle series, this is easily read as a stand-alone novel.  This is set in the gritty streets of Portland, Oregon.  Naomi is searching for the sister that she left behind while she escaped the bunker that she was held in as a child.  In the meantime, there is a parallel story line of three homeless teens, with the focus being on Celia.  Celia is the butterfly girl, seeing them all around as signs of hope.  As you read this novel, it is difficult not to feel hollowed-out and bleak when you consider the stories told are similar to stories being lived out on the streets right now.  Fortunately, there is a satisfying ending to help balance the stark realities.
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The second in the Naomi Cottle series, this novel is easily read as a standalone.. The writing is beautiful and the subject matter difficult to digest. Trigger warnings for: abuse, child neglect, sexual assault/abuse, and drugs.
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3 stars

You can read all of my reviews at https://www.NerdGirlLovesBooks.com.

I really enjoyed Denfeld's first book, The Child Finder, and was excited to read the next book in the series. Unfortunately, this book wasn't as compelling as the first book. The story dragged in certain parts and the ancillary characters weren't interesting.

A year ago, Naomi decides to stop investigating cases to focus 100% of her time on finding her sister. With no picture or name, and only a vague memory of a strawberry field and black dirt, the search seems hopeless. The search takes her to Portland, Oregon, where she sees scores of homeless children wandering the street. When Naomi discovers that children are going missing, and their bodies are later found months later in dirty water, she can't help but get involved. She takes particular interest in a twelve-year old girl named Celia, who imagines butterflies all around her to help her cope with the abuses she endures.

The author is a beautiful writer and I enjoy reading her books. This isn't a bad book, it just didn't resonate with me like The Child Finder did.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I should.d start by saying I had not read the previous books in this series.  With that in mind, I came in to the middle of Naomi's story.  She was kidnapped as a child, kept in a bunker with her little sister, and escaped by herself as a child with no memories of her previous life or captivity.  Now she specializes in finding lost children.  She is desperate to find her own sister a couple of decades later.  On the way, she runs into a series of bodies; street children no one seems to see or miss.  This is where we come to the best part of the book, Celia.  She is on the streets and we get to experience what her life was and is like.  She is really new most compelling thing about the book.  I think I'd read more of the series to see what happens to her.
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I loved Naomi in The Child Finder, so the chance to read another tale featuring her was exciting. This book, The Butterfly Girl, gives us a much deeper view into the back story of Naomi and why she is so uniquely suited to be a finder of lost children. As only an author who has lived and breathed this way of life can, we as the reader get a rare glimpse into another kind of lost child. It's not the much adored and missed children that this book centers around, but the forgotten homeless children who live anyone they can. I loved this book as much as I loved the other. Both are so full of raw human emotion and suspense, that I couldn't help being invested in the futures of these characters. Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
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Rene Denfeld has a way to bring us into a world that many of us would chose to ignore.  This time, the world  features the young runaways that inhabit the streets of Portland, Oregon.  I loved the first book in the Naomi Cottle series (The Child Finder), and could not wait to hear more about Naomi and see if she could locate her long, lost sister.
Naomi has come to Portland, Oregon where young runaways come to the streets to escape abuse, poverty, drug addicted parents, and chase dreams. Here Naomi comes across Celia, a young girl that dreams of butterflies to help herself cope with the harsh realities of her life. While Naomi searches for her lost sister, young girls are turning up dead near the riverside of Portland. As the relationship between Naomi and Cecelia grows, she comes closer to finding the murderer of the girls, and to finding her sister.
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3.75 stars for The Butterfly Girl! 

I adored The Child Finder, so I was excited to see where things continued next. So many thoughts on this one while reading, but I loved how things came full circle. Rene Denfeld has such an a way to make a beautiful story from a tragic, abused past. 

I was so fully invested with Naomi in The Child Finder, but felt like her character changed so much that I had a harder time connecting. This novel, as well as The Child Finder, can each be read as a stand alone, but it definitely helped to have the backstory of Naomi, and now on the search for her sister that was left in captivity.

It’s a race against the captor, while also trying to solve the mystery behind who is killing and dumping women’s bodies in Portland, Oregon.

*Thank you to libro.fm, Harper audio, and Netgalley for the gifted ebook and audiobook. All opinions are my own
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Nicely written follow-up to The Child Finder but it was hard to connect to this one. Celia was the only character with enough background to connect to. There really wasn't much "mystery" to the plot and I thought the butterfly aspect was really overdone.  I did appreciate the sensitivity shown to the plight of homeless youth who reside in every city, uncared for and unseen.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC to read and review.
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The Child Finder’s Naomi Cottle is back, this time looking for her missing sister and trying to stop the killing of homeless girls on the streets of an unnamed Portland. She finds herself drawn to a young girl named Celia, who withdraws into her own world of the imaginary butterflies who help and keep her safe. Celia is worried about her own younger sister, a not coincidental parallel between her and Naomi.

Denfeld has written another lyrical, dreamlike, menacing, hopeful story. I wasn’t sure The Child Finder needed a sequel, but I was relieved and satisfied by this second book.
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I absolutely loved The Child Finder and although this is in the Naomi Cottle series you do not have to read The Child Finder first. This can easily be read as a stand-alone. This book was heartbreaking at times but I enjoyed it as much as I did the first one.
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Rene Denefeld is a fabulous author and has written another great book. The storyline is interesting and emotional.
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3.5 stars

As the sequel to 2017’s The Child Finder, Rene Denfeld’s latest work, The Butterfly Girl, sees the return of Naomi Cottle, an independent investigator whose knack for finding missing children stems from a childhood tragedy, a kidnapping that she was able to escape from, but sadly her sister did not.  Unable to let go of the guilt of leaving her sister behind, Naomi has made it her life’s mission to find her sister, despite barely having any information to go off of.  This time around, Naomi’s search for her sister brings her to Portland, Oregon, where she discovers a growing number of homeless children disappearing off the streets, only to be found murdered days later, their bodies tossed in the dirty waters of the local river.   Despite her best efforts not to get involved due to a vow she made to locate her sister before taking on any more cases, Naomi is eventually pulled into the case after meeting Celia, a twelve-year-old girl who chooses a life on the streets rather than returning home to an abusive stepfather and an oblivious, drug addict mother.   Seeing Celia reminds Naomi of her own past and instills in her an urgent need to try her best to protect her, while Celia’s own desire to protect her younger sister Alyssa from the abuse she herself suffered draws parallels to Naomi’s relationship with the sister she is desperately trying to find.
 
This was one of those books that I struggle with rating, as there were enough things I appreciated about the story, but there were also things that didn’t work tremendously well for me.  Perhaps because I never read the first book in this series, I found Naomi’s storyline about searching for her sister and the way it eventually unfolds a bit unrealistic and maybe even a tad forced  — I didn’t connect with her story as much emotionally and at times, even felt frustrated with the way Naomi’s search becomes an obsession to the point that it takes over her life.  Celia’s story, on the other hand, was heartbreaking — drawing from her own personal experience of living on the streets as a kid, the way that Denfeld depicted the harsh realities of street living was both heartfelt and emotionally gut-wrenching.  Her story ran the emotional spectrum for me – there was sadness and anger, but yet there was also an underlying element of hopefulness interspersed throughout the story.  I think for me, I preferred more focus on Celia’s story rather than Naomi’s, as I found myself skimming some of the sections that dove too much into Naomi’s backstory, which I felt were a bit repetitive and, in a way, dragged down the rest of the story.  With all that said, one of the things that set this book apart for me was the atmospheric writing, especially in the chapters involving Celia and her friends and what their lives were like out on the streets.  There was also the brilliant use of imagery in a seamless yet metaphoric way – in this instance, the imagery of butterflies and their importance to Celia’s story.
 
Overall, I feel this was a good story that had a lot of potential and while I agree with other reviewers that this can definitely be read as a standalone, I think for me personally, I would’ve appreciated the story more if I had read the first one prior.  I do intend on going back to read The Child Finder at some point, preferably before Denfeld’s next book comes out, especially if it will be a continuation of Naomi’s story.
 
Received ARC from Harper via NetGalley.
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"...the stories we tell ourselves have more meaning than the facts. That doesn't make them lies. Seeded with every myth was the emotional truth."

What a beautiful, lyrical and sad story that focuses on the plight of abused , murdered, and missing children. Naomi, now married to Jerome, is a child finder. She's made it her life's mission because she's really searching for her sister. They'd both been abducted from an orphanage when very young, Naomi had escaped, but had left her sister behind. Without specific memories of where, when or how, Naomi managed to find a loving adoptive mother who nurtured and believed in her. Now, Naomi has decided that it time for her to return to the place where she was found in order to finally track down her long-lost sister. In Oregon, she meets a 12-year-old street child named Celia and is inexplicably drawn to her. Celia dreams of butterflies and being free having run away from home due to childhood sexual abuse. Can the two of them help each other? NO SPOILERS.

Although this was fairly short and easy to read in a single sitting, the prose is captivating and held me in thrall. The personalities of the two main characters, Naomi and Celia, are so fleshed out that you want to know them, to comfort them, to love them. Childhood horrors are so difficult to escape and their story is fraught with the sordid truth of life on the streets. Believe me, this book is not one that any reader will be able to forget after reading. I hope to see another that features Naomi and wish for her to continue to do what she does best -- lay the tormented souls to rest and find the missing children.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for this e-book ARC to read and review.
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Love love love the character Naomi Cottle, and was so excited to read another book, as The Child Finder was excellent.
Once again, Naomi is embattled in her search for missing girls, this time her sister.  She meets Celia, an eleven year old living in the streets. 
What happens next is a brutal look into the foster care system, homeless and missing children, and the bond of sisters.
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