The Butterfly Project
By: Emma Scott
Published: February 21, 2017 by Trillian
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
*Note: The above link to Amazon Depository is an affiliate link. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.
Goodreads description--"Where you are is home..."
At age fourteen, Zelda Rossi witnessed the unthinkable, and has spent the last ten years hardening her heart against the guilt and grief. She channels her pain into her art: a dystopian graphic novel where vigilantes travel back in time to stop heinous crimes—like child abduction—before they happen. Zelda pitches her graphic novel to several big-time comic book publishers in New York City, only to have her hopes crash and burn. Circumstances leave her stranded in an unfamiliar city, and in an embarrassing moment of weakness, she meets a guarded young man with a past he’d do anything to change...
Beckett Copeland spent two years in prison for armed robbery, and is now struggling to keep his head above water. A bike messenger by day, he speeds around New York City, riding fast and hard but going nowhere, his criminal record holding him back almost as much as the guilt of his crime.
Zelda and Beckett form a grudging alliance of survival, and in between their stubborn clash of wills, they slowly begin to provide each other with the warmth of forgiveness, healing, and maybe even love. But when Zelda and Beckett come face to face with their pasts, they must choose to hold on to the guilt and regret that bind them, or let go and open their hearts for a shot at happiness.
The Butterfly Project is a novel that reveals the power of forgiveness, and how even the smallest decisions of the heart can—like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings—create currents that strengthen into gale winds, altering the course of a life forever.
First off, I really dislike this cover. I feel like it gives off the impression of being a self-published book which might hinder some readers from looking into it deeper. The cover also felt a bit disconnected from the actual story for me.
Another quick aside before I get into the meat of the story is that The Butterfly Project has a small crossover from the Full Tilt series. Zelda was a side character in that series and now she's the leading lady. Theo is mentioned and has an extremely short phone call with Zelda, and that's about it. But I personally appreciated the fan service of tying these two together.
So Zelda left Las Vegas with the dream is getting her graphic novel published. While I've read books in the past that feature authors or aspiring authors, I've never read one who focused on graphic novels so I liked this aspect. It was interesting to see more about her art and process of creating. And of course, it makes sense because Zelda was a tattoo artist in Vegas. While I can see her wanting to pursue a different avenue career-wise, when you're strapped for cash, I find it hard to believe that Zelda could make near the amount of money from waiting tables as she could from tattooing. When things are desperate you tend to go for practical. Or at least, I do. But Zelda's struggling with a traumatic event from her past. She witnessed a terrible crime and it has shaped her in many ways.
As the description says, Beckett served two years in prison for armed robbery. And he's currently on parole. He's spent every day since feeling regret and guilt over the entire situation because a man died. And despite Beckett's attempts to atone by doing good where he can, he doesn't feel that he deserves anything good in his life. He doesn't deserve to be happy. So when Zelda walks into his life he's reluctant to allow the light she brings to lift him up.
Zelda and Beckett have a slow building relationship. They become roommates out of desperate necessity. Then they become friends. Beckett ends up helping Zelda on her graphic novel to the point where they become partners. And eventually it turns into more. And really this slow building relationship is what drew me into this story.
Beyond Zelda and Beckett's relationship, these two both have pasts that they have to work through. They both harbor guilt over things that they couldn't control and didn't directly cause to happen. Zelda's situation was more innocent than Beckett's in that nothing she did caused the pain she feels. Beckett's the opposite. His decisions indirectly contributed to a man's death. Both have to grieve, forgive themselves, and let go in order to move forward. And stories about true forgiveness are usually among some of my favorites because we've all made mistakes. We all need forgiveness, but so often people and characters truly struggle with forgiving ourselves and others for the hurts we've caused and experienced.
The new adult genre almost always brings with it extensive language as well as graphic scenes. This was true for The Butterfly Project. The physical scenes weren't present really until about 70%, but after that they were fairly frequent. There's also child violence touched on. Prison and death penalty also if these things bother or concern you.
I enjoyed The Butterfly Project. I appreciated the crossovers from the Full Tilt series. Zelda and Beckett were easy to like and root for. And more than anything I enjoyed the message of forgiveness woven throughout. The language and physical scenes are always something I find myself mentioning with this genre. but also there were some cheesy lines. In the end, I feel like The Butterfly Project deserves 4 Stars. Have you read The Butterfly Project? What did you think? Let me know!