on February 28, 2017
Genres: Love & Romance
"Where you are is home..."
At age fourteen, Zelda Rossi witnessed the unthinkable, and has spent the last ten years hardening her heart against the guilt and grief. She channels her pain into her art: a dystopian graphic novel where vigilantes travel back in time to stop heinous crimes—like child abduction—before they happen. Zelda pitches her graphic novel to several big-time comic book publishers in New York City, only to have her hopes crash and burn. Circumstances leave her stranded in an unfamiliar city, and in an embarrassing moment of weakness, she meets a guarded young man with a past he’d do anything to change...
Beckett Copeland spent two years in prison for armed robbery, and is now struggling to keep his head above water. A bike messenger by day, he speeds around New York City, riding fast and hard but going nowhere, his criminal record holding him back almost as much as the guilt of his crime.
Zelda and Beckett form a grudging alliance of survival, and in between their stubborn clash of wills, they slowly begin to provide each other with the warmth of forgiveness, healing, and maybe even love. But when Zelda and Beckett come face to face with their pasts, they must choose to hold on to the guilt and regret that bind them, or let go and open their hearts for a shot at happiness.
The Butterfly Project is a novel that reveals the power of forgiveness, and how even the smallest decisions of the heart can—like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings—create currents that strengthen into gale winds, altering the course of a life forever.
After an epic failure of a trip to New York City, Zelda is about to call it and throw in the towel. She’s had nothing but rejection while shopping her graphic novel around to publishing houses.
On a whim, she heads to an Italian restaurant where she ends up meeting Beckett. Not only is he the busboy there but he’s also a bike messenger by day. Taking a chance, Zelda asks to be his roommate (after verifying he’s not a bad guy).
Together these two have so much emotional baggage. Zelda is living with the guilt from a situation in her past that she had no control over. Beckett is living with the guilt of a stupid mistake he made a few years ago. Because of their guilt, they can’t move forward and find that happiness the both of them so deserve.
Beckett won my heart almost immediately. He is the kind of guy who can’t afford his rent for the month, but will still give his last dollar to a homeless person or food to neighbors who seem to be shut-ins. I also really loved Zelda. She is a person who seems to exude this care-free attitude but behind the façade, there is a girl who is just living with insecurities and guilt.
“This place feels like home because you’re in it.”
When Beckett starts to help Zelda with her graphic novel, Mother, May I? these two start to work through their issues. It was like working together on the graphic novel was their way to absolve themselves of their pasts. Almost like a cathartic experience. They learn to accept what is, to accept their past, and how to move on. And in between the pages of a beautiful novel (with beautiful illustrations), these two find each other.
Emma Scott has become one of my favorite authors. I know that whenever I pick up her books, I am going to instantly fall in love with not only the story, but the characters as well.
This book, just like her others is a top favorite of mine.
“Why do you stay if it’s so hard to live here?” I asked.
Beckett took a drag from his cigarette, as if he were buying time before answering.
“Brooklyn, born and raised,” he said finally, still not looking at me. “Where else would I go anyway? Different city, same struggle.” He finally brought his gaze to mine. “So you’re getting out?”
“On the bus, tomorrow,” I said. “I can’t stay. I was here for a job interview—sort of—and it fell through.”
“What was the job?”
“You’ll think it’s stupid.”
“Yeah, I probably will.” His smile was dry.
I laughed a little. “Smartass. I draw graphic novels.”
He stared at me blankly.
“Long-form comic books that tell one continuous story,” I said.
“Like The Walking Dead?”
“Exactly. I have one mocked up and I came here to pitch it to a few publishers. They all rejected me. Well, one half-rejected me, but it doesn’t matter. I can’t stay in the city long enough to make any changes, and I wouldn’t know what changes to make if I could.”
Beckett studied the cigarette between his fingers. “Why can’t you stay?”
“Where do I start?” I ground out my cigarette under my boot heel. “My poor planning? My dwindling funds? The fact I was robbed today? Or that I was naively hopeful the publishers would adore my work and sign me on the spot? Take your pick.”
Beckett shook his head, his mouth turned down in his grimace. “Wait, go back. You were robbed?”
I nodded and waved away the last of the smoke, wishing my failure could be as easily dissipated. “I came here like a wide-eyed twit with a dream, and I crashed and burned.”
“You tried. That’s more than most people do.”
“Tried and failed.”
“So try again.”
“I wish,” I said, letting my gaze roam over the dingy back alley. “I feel like I’m so close to breaking through. That last publisher gave me some hope. If I could pull a few weeks out of my ass, I’d have a chance. But it’s impossible. I have to go back to Nevada.”
“You don’t have friends or family nearby?”
Yes, and only two hours by train.
“No,” I said, and decided I’d said enough to a total stranger. The last thing I needed was the terrible homesickness to well up again. I stood and brushed off the ass of my pants. “Anyway, it is what it is. Thanks for the smoke.”
“Were you hurt?”
I turned, glanced down at Beckett. “What?”
“You said you were robbed,” he said, his voice low, his eyes holding mine as if he were forcing himself to hear this. “Did they hurt you?”
“No, I… No. I wasn’t there. It was a break-in.”
He leaned against the wall and his sigh plumed out in front of him in the cold air. It sounded relieved. “I’m sorry, Zelda.”
I frowned. “Not your fault. Like I said, the city kicked my ass. The sooner I get the hell out of here, the better for all involved.”
Beckett ground out his smoke and got to his feet. He was at least six-two, yet it didn’t feel imposing to stand in his shadow. It felt…
Safe. I feel safe with him.
“Do you know how to get back to wherever you’re staying?” he asked.
“The same way I got here, only in reverse,” I said, covering my unsettling thoughts with sarcasm.
Because that was safe for me.