Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais- INTERVIEW AND REVIEW

Author: M. Anjelais
Publisher: Chicken House Books
Publication Date: April 3rd 2014
Blurb Description: Sphinxie and Cadence. Promised to each other in childhood. Drawn together again as teens. Sphinxie is sweet, compassionate, and plain. Cadence is brilliant, charismatic. Damaged. And diseased. When they were kids, he scarred her with a knife. Now, as his illness progresses, he becomes increasingly demanding. She wants to be loyal--but fears for her life. Only the ultimate sacrifice will give this love an ending.


1. 5 Material Things you can't live without:
My iPhone , my computer (where the magic happens!), sunglasses (I have a legitimate addiction to these), lip balm (my favourite kind is mint-flavoured), and then lastly I'll count my collected journals as one thing. I've kept a journal since age 12 and they're extremely important to me.

2. This or that: 

--High school or college: Can I say neither? I was homeschooled for my entire life and chose not to go to college in order to pursue my writing career. I think some people were skeptical when I told them my plans for my career, but I got long-listed for my publishing house's fiction competition only seven months later.

--Sociopaths or psychopaths: As I understand it, psychopath is just another word for sociopath, so there's no decision to be made here!

--Pasta or noodles: Either! As long as they're gluten-free, please.

--Romance or Fantasy: Fantasy. I'm not at all fond of today's concept of romance in fiction.

3. If Breaking Butterflies were to be turned into a movie:
Dream cast: 

This is going to be such an odd answer because in a dream cast where anything was possible, most roles would be played by people who aren't even actors! Sphinx would be played by a girl I know, who doesn't know she was the inspiration for Sphinx's appearance in the novel. She could also possibly be played by Shailene Woodley, although that's really a stretch for me to try to imagine.

I've never seen any actor who looks quite like Cadence, so I don't think I'd be able to choose ahead of time. The right person would just have to come along.

Sphinx's father is based off of my honorary sister Edie's father, and so would be played by him. 

Sphinx's mother is based on my own mother, but her appearance in my head is actually quite vague - I'd have to really think about what I'd want her actress to look like.

Cadence's mother Leigh would be played by Naomi Watts

Theme song: What Sarah Said by Death Cab For Cutie!

4. For anyone who hasn't had the pleasure, do elaborate (a bit) on the intricacies of Cadence, Sphinx and Cadence and Sphinx (as friends):
Cadence and Sphinx's relationship was initially decided for them. Their mothers had this vision of their childrens' lives, and it included them being connected forever. However, in real life, Sphinx and Cadence are not beneficial to each other, and the devotion sown into them by their mothers turns into a danger. Cadence is a toxic friend if there ever was one, and Sphinx is impressionable and eager to please. Their friendship dynamic is definitely not something to be admired or desired in any conceivable way. 
It's an interesting thing to write about because while it's definitely so unhealthy, there is also beauty to be found in the way that they interact and in the way that Sphinx grows stronger and more independent as a result. I've tried to handle it all very delicately so that their beauty can be recognized without making a friendship like theirs seem like something a young reader should want for themselves. 

5. Have you ever met a Cadence? How ever did you come up with him? This, I'm DYING to know!

Cadence is not based on any particular person in my life! However, I certainly have met a "Cadence" - and you have too! It's impossible not to. After all, 1 in 24 people is a sociopath. As for my character of Cadence, he was born out of an interest in sociopathy and a desire to create a metaphor for my own struggles in life. The bullying, low self-esteem, and urges to end my life that I struggled with as a younger child are embodied in Cadence, who inflicts those struggles in many forms on Sphinx.

6. If you could jump into the world you created, what would be your message to each of our characters? (Cadence, Sphinx, Leigh and Sarah)
--I would promise Cadence that I'd always remember him and his art. I think he'd appreciate that, in his own way.

--I would encourage Sphinx to keep being strong and to know that she'd find purpose in life for herself and be happy. It's funny, one time I was actually at an dance aerobics class and I saw a woman in her mid-thirties, dancing a few feet away from me, and she looked just like what I'd imagine a grown-up Sphinx to be like. It actually gave me closure as the creator of Sphinx in a way.

--I would tell Leigh that I knew she did the best she could with what she was given.

--I would tell Sarah the exact same thing that I would tell Leigh! But then I'd add to her as an afterthought that she should hug Sphinx extra-tight.


And his eyes, his blue, searching, beautiful eyes, had no light behind them anymore; finally human.”

It was a day, just like any other, when Sarah Quinn’s life changed. She would later look at it as a phase, as would her daughter, the pre- Leigh phase and the post- Leigh phase. Or, more accurately, Sarah’s life before the plan.

Under the dappled sun, inside a little tent, two seven year olds cooked up a plan that unwittingly took control of their lives. A little plan that showed them the path that they and their little miracles would walk on. The path to living the most perfect, idyllic, fairytale life they could imagine even then. And in the strangest way, it worked. Perhaps with a few detours along the way, but the bottom line remained the same. But then, not everything turns out the way we want it too, right?

Promised to each other by their mothers when they were still dormant eggs inside of them, Sphinx and Cadence have lived their whole life under the illusion of the plan.

Cadence shone like a star, brighter and bolder than anybody else. Extraordinary, was what he was, you could tell that just by looking at him. His eyes would shine, so bright and yet so cold, so unusual. Extraordinary was what he was, so much so, that he was broken. So unusual, that there was something wrong with him. So scary, that you couldn’t see it until he wanted you to. So dangerous, that you would think he was an angel.

And under his blinding light, was Sphinx. She worshipped him for all of his broken beauty, his empty feelings, and his frightening escapades. She was the one he wanted, after all. The only one this genius wanted to play with. That is, until he marks her; scars her. And all the illusions of the perfect life come shattering down, with a single tug on a fragile thread. And everything dissolves into nothing…

Years into the precarious future, a strange phone call alters Sphinx’s life again. Shocked back into the reality of what the one she looked up to did to her all that time ago, only to face the news that he is not going to be there anymore. You see, Cadence had used up all his fire to burn too fast, and now, he was on his descent down; his descent back to earth from the place he was.

His dying wish? He wants to see his little playmate from all those years ago. The girl he scarred, leaving her behind an invisible wall for the rest of her life, from all those ‘normal’ people out there. He wants to see Sphinx…

Poignant, beautiful, scary, haunting, bittersweet and SO addicting, Breaking Butterflies has marked me, left me with something I don’t think I will forget, ever. I’ve never, not once, felt what I felt while reading it. It shocked me, because it was not only was it something I’ve never read about before, but it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be, it was a hundred percent better.

Cadence, I don’t even know what to say there. Even if you’re not there with him, Anjelais will make you feel like you are. You’ll feel scared, awed and downright shocked and mystified at this wonder of a character! As much as I liked, wait, LOVED this, I would have done the same so SO much more if it was done from his point of view, which would have been brilliant to execute.

My Verdict:

I’m still shocked. I read it a while ago- but the chills still remain. I don’t know what to say except- READ IT!

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