The ‘Butterfly novels’ by Denise Deegan comprise a trilogy, each focusing on one girl in a group of best friends – Alex, Sarah and Rachel.
They are standalone books but follow on from each other – and I managed to read them in the wrong order. I read Rachel’s story first, when it is actually the final part of the series. Weirdly, I’m glad I did – as the sideways glimpses it gave me of the other characters and their stories made them all the more intriguing. By the time I’d finished with Rachel, I couldn’t wait to read Alex and then (most of all) Sarah.
These are the everyday dramas of three pretty ordinary girls (although Alex’s dad is a pop star and Rachel is an aspiring actress who wins a lucky break into the world of TV). They cover all sorts of teenage ‘issues’, but in a way that is entertaining and doesn’t feel too forced. For English readers like me, the Irish setting and language brings a bit of extra exotic glamour.
I don’t want to ruin the plot for you, so will just give you a quick taster. Alex is dealing with the death of her mum when she meets a boy who might be more important to her than she first realises. Sarah goes off the rails when her parents split up, and ends up learning lessons about herself when she has to sign up for community service. Rachel’s dreams come true when she wins a part in a TV drama, but this brings back unpleasant echoes of her past – which she hasn’t told the other girls about.
There is now a lasting place in my heart for all of the ‘butterfly’ girls – I am planning to reread all of the books, in the correct order this time – but for the lovely, complicated, big-hearted Sarah most of all.