My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Julie and Bastian meet at a party, Julie can’t seem to figure Bastian out. He stands out — not because he’s rude towards her and hardly gives anyone the time of day, nor because he’s probably the most good-looking guy present – but because of one simple accessories. Bastian wears black, leather gloves and refuses to take them off or even so much as hint to why he’s wearing them in the first place. Talk about mysterious. Later, Julie finds out that Bastian suffers from a rare hereditary skin disease which makes him incredibly vulnerable. A bump against his arm causes his skin to be covered in blisters and wounds, and because of it, Bastian has become incredibly sheltered and mistrusting due to horrible and disgusted responses from people in the past. When him and Julie fall in love, Bastian is forced to face his inner demons and with it the terrible cruelty of the world.
I saw this book on Netgalley and was immediately drawn to it. Yes, the cover helped a lot, but the synopsis was actually why I requested this title. I’d never heard of the disease and I was wondering if it was a fictitious one or an actual existing disease – it turns out it’s the latter. For the most part, this book taught me all about the disease, introduced me to the prejudice towards people who have it and I really loved that. I love it when books are able to teach me something new and make me aware of something, because that is a big part of what this book did. It dealt with different types of responses to seeing the disease – some good, some bad. The author did an incredible job at describing the horror of having to life with the disease, so I want to compliment her on that.
The main character, Julie, I thought was a very nice main character. She was witty and fun to read about and I could relate to her on a lot of levels. She worked hard for what she wanted and fought against the life-plan that her mother seemed to have for her (on several occasions). I was happy to see Julie stick to her own plans throughout the book and to see her rebel continuously. Bastian was also a good main character – his entire story actually made me very upset because this book somehow hit very close to home for me. The reoccurring theme was pretty much accepting yourself despite what everyone else thinks or says and that is something that I have struggled (and still struggle with) for a long time. A lot of the things addressed and a lot of Bastian’s feelings I could identify with.
I did, however, find him a bit possessive and hovering at times and I really can’t stand that in male characters. There were several moments where he acted out of jealousy and although he apologized and was aware of his mistake, it was annoying all the same. I just don’t like it when male characters literally yank away another male character talking to the main female – she didn’t need saving, she was in a conversation with another man. Calm down. His reactions were understandable, but it was enough to bug me so I had to deduct a star from the final rating for that.
The side characters were all very nice to read about – my favourites being Felix and Luke – they all added something to the story and none of their appearances felt like they were being used to bring the couple together. I felt like we were reading about them because they were interesting on their own. Of course they added some dimension to both Julie and Bastian as they were their friends and family, but I could’ve easily read entire paragraphs about Luke’s favourite toy (Luke is a kid, mind you!) and it would’ve been fine with me.
I will say that I really enjoyed the second half of the story a bit more than the first. Things picked up a bit more in the second bit and that’s also where a lot of the reveals came. It’s also the part that got me teary-eyed, so kudos to the author for that.
4 out of 5 stars for Julie’s Butterfly — a lovely romance novel that introduces you to a whole new world of prejudice you didn’t know existed and makes you once again hope that love will save the day.