Nobody’s Butterfly – Claire Davis & Al Stewart
Cobweb ghosts are so inconvenient—especially grumpy ones with bad breath. Don’t they know silence is golden?
Johnny Strong is the expert; he hasn’t spoken in two years. Not one word to anyone except the ghost. The main purpose of life is to avoid people and not get noticed. Friends? He doesn’t need them; and certainly nobody wants him despite what the ghost says.
Until a new boy appears at Windybank—Finn Lyons, teenage wizard. He eats frogs, concocts potions, and is always hungry. Not only does Finn stand up for Johnny; he actively seeks his company and soon becomes part of life.
First love; family and words; a heady mix to go in the potion but how will it all turn out?
Hubble bubble; Johnny Strong’s in trouble! Silence is not always golden in this sweet, zany story of the purest magic at Christmas
Like most CD & AS stories, Nobody’s Butterfly starts a bit cryptically, letting you wonder about the setting, why the characters are the way the are and then you have to figure out the special names, metaphors and whatever mental issues the MCs have. This could either be confusing and exasperating like in Dear Mona Lisa or poetic and magical as done brilliantly in this story.
Everything’s endearingly pure and adorably quirky despite all the bad experiences Johnny and Finn experienced. Johnny Strong has not spoken for two years for reasons not explicitly explained but he talks to the ghost in the cobweb at his window. Enter Finn Lyons, who claims to be his wizard and seems to understand what Johnny was saying silently. Finn can cast magic spells that makes Johnny’s worries disappear.
You’re the seeker,” Finn burped. “And I am your finder. But, of course, you already know that.”
Finn drags the reluctant but not really Johnny on quests and adventures. The two boys just connected so beautifully and comfortably, it was warm and fuzzy all over. But Johnny was afraid that Finn would go away soon. That explosive scene where Johnny finally let it all out because he was thought they were sending Finn away was just the definition of heart wrenching.
“NO! And if you send him back there, you might as well kill me too. No.” The rant ended as more of a cry of pain than a shout. “I’ve thrown the suitcases away and flushed the door key down the toilet. I’ll sit in front of the door and you’ll have to get a crane to move me because you’re not taking my boyfriend. NO—no—no—no—no. I’ll call the police and the BBC and tell them.”
“Johnny Strong,” Finn whispered into Johnny’s hair. He pulled back to wipe his face but more tears burst out. Johnny forgot about Greg and Anna. He nudged Finn’s nose with his own, and that led into a long, teary kiss, one he would remember for the rest of his life.
This has a lot of similarities to Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! which in my opinion is the duo’s best story (and an all-time favorite of mine). It’s also magical and reads like a fairy tale of sorts, the kind where poor orphans are abandoned in the care of big bad caretakers. But here, the villains are not really bad, just human. It’s a very moving and poignant tale of friendship, coming of age, finding connections and overcoming darkness. It tells us to believe, hope and love. It leaves us a message that
People don’t have to be perfect to be lovely.
I definitely recommend this!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits