The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld is equally disturbing and captivating. Private investigator Naomi and homeless twelve-year-old Celia have a lot in common. Both have been through horrific abuse as young women, and both have left behind a younger sister in order to escape that abuse.
Naomi hasn’t stopped searching to find her younger sister, despite not remembering her name or where they were held captive. The focus on her search has almost jeopardized her marriage.
Meanwhile, Celia worries about her younger sister, who still lives at home with Celia’s sexually abusive stepdad. Life on the streets is very challenging, including the constant hunger and need to stay safe. The challenge is even more harsh with the string of young homeless girls disappearing before showing up murdered. Celia’s only escape is to recollect her only positive memory before her mom turned into an addict- the beauty and light of butterflies. Meanwhile, Celia’s stepdad is starting to turn his attentions toward her younger sister. She needs to face this monster again, while also needing to escape the attention of the mystery person going after the homeless girls around her.
Naomi and Celia’s paths connect as Naomi digs to find out about her own sister’s whereabouts, while also working the case of the missing/murdered girls. The two cases connect in a shocking way.
The abuse referenced throughout the book is horrific to imagine, but the hope for a positive resolution for Naomi and Celia and punishment of the perpetrators kept me going. The author accomplished both.