Butterfly Summer is just the sort of book I’d have loved when I was ten or eleven years old, a summer mystery.
Becky is twelve and she and her mum have just moved to Oakbridge. For Becky it means getting used to a new house and having to make new friends. But her mum has lived here before and Becky soon starts to wonder whether there’s more than just a new job to her mum’s sudden decision to move back. Places Becky has never been before are strangely familiar, she finds a mysterious photo hidden in a box under her mum’s bed, and her mum is starting to fall apart. What is she hiding?
This is quite a well-written little book; the story progresses steadily, and while as an adult I could guess some of the secrets, Conway still managed to keep a lot of them hidden until the final denouement. She builds the picture well, weaving in the different threads: why do people say they remember Becky when she’s never lived there before? Why is her new friend Rosa May so wild and angry? Why is Becky so afraid of the water? From an adult perspective it wasn’t especially stand-out, but I think any young girl would thoroughly enjoy it, especially the build-up to the final reveal and what that means.