The Black Butterfly

By: Shirley Reva Vernick
A spooky hotel, two ghosts (friend and enemy), real boyfriend, real romance, a forgiven mother. Not bad for winter vacation.


When Penny's flaky, ghost-hunting mother sends her to a "friend's" inn in Maine for Christmas break, Penny doesn't believe in ghostsƒor loveƒor family. That may all be about to change as Penny confronts her own supernatural gift, an alluring guy, and staggering family secrets. But will she lose her first love, her only parent, or her life in the process?

Shirley Reva Vernick grew up in Massena, New York— the very place where her debut novel The Blood Lie takes place. She now lives with her husband, two daughters, and two frisky dogs in Amherst, Massachusetts. In addition to running a popular storytelling website,, Shirley's writing has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, national newspapers, and the publications of Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Boston Universities.

9 reviews for The Black Butterfly

  1. R. Barri Flowers, author of Justice Served
    A very charming, witty, and suspenseful young adult novel about a haunted inn in Maine, ghosts, first love, and getting to know oneself. Highly recommended.

  2. Marley Gibson, bestselling author of the Gust Huntress series
    The Black Butterfly is a hauntingly delicious mix of ghostly adventures, budding romance, and page-turning intrigue that will have you breathless up until the end.

  3. The Show Me Librarian
    Highly enjoyable and hits all the right notes for a teen reader. Penny’s voice rings so true.

  4. Books, Teens and Magazines
    A great find for those readers interested in a bit of fantasy and romance … very enjoyable. I was quite pleased to think I might meet Penny and George again. I think you might be too.

  5. Young Adult Forever
    There’s enough going on in this book to make me want to do more than hold hands at movie night, and for me to look forward to our families going to the same campground again next summer. Mystery, death threats, secrets, dream walking, ghost whispering, amazing food, angst and growing up—well, you get the idea.

  6. The Styling Librarian
    Really enjoyed this novel … This inn is packed with mystery, ghosts, and some romance. Quite an interesting adventure to read with lovely character development

  7. ALAN Picks
    Aspiring foodies will savor Vernick’s ghostly mystery and romance served up between meals at the Black Butterfly Inn…things get exciting when the relationship between Penny and George heats up and details of an untimely death unfold. —Janie Flores

  8. VOYA Magazine
    She is a wonder-filled gateway into the quirky hotel, Black Butterfly, and the sumptuous, lavishly described cooking of chef Rita…George [the love interest] is charming, and his past with the hotel and the island adds to the lived-in feel of the setting… Their relationship grows in a swoon-worthy rush over the course of a week and is fun to follow… Along with romance, Penny also spends her time meeting the Butterfly’s two ghostly residents, going on dream journeys, and learning about her mother. It is all a bit of a mess, but a delicious one, and the family relationships and other hotel residents provide enough grounding to make it work. By book’s end, Penny’s home life looks different…most of the mysteries have been solved, and she is looking forward to a summer of more heavy smooching. —Lisa Martincik

  9. Youth Services Book Reviews
    This is a unique story about holding on and letting go, about hope and forgiveness, and about ghosts and their stories. I particularly enjoyed the character Blue, as he added so much to the plot. —Maria Touet

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