Golden based author Jane Powell has released her newest book, Butterflies in the System, which follows the life of five teens in youth protection and detention centres in Montreal.
A story about love, incarcerations and perseverance, the main characters navigate their lives in a world kept hidden from the public eye, their future in the hands of judges, social workers and childcare workers.
She hopes the novel can be inspiring, offering light-hearted moments throughout the book.
With themes like friendship and empathy, Powell says she wrote the book for everyone to enjoy and hopes the people of Golden can draw from its lessons.
“Butterflies in the System appeals to all those who both care about creating positive change in the lives of youth, as well as those who like a bit of adventure and laughter,” said Powell.
“Being a Goldenite myself, I think we have many caring souls in this community who also like to laugh.”
Drawing on her own lived experiences from her time spent in youth protection as a teen, Powell hopes to bring awareness to the need for change in how the system of youth protection is set up and the effects it can have, while acting as a form of catharsis for herself.
Place in protective care at the age of 16 as a result of a sexual assault she experienced before her 14th birthday, she initially believed that the system would help her. While there were some staff who helped make a difference in the youth in their custody, Powell says that many of the people she met while in the system still struggle to this day with their past trauma.
“Most staff were untrained and more like overworked babysitters there for the pay cheque, system kids such as myself were often neglected and abused,” said Powell.
“Today, I am one of the lucky ones.
“Writing has always been therapeutic for me, it’s how I work through my experiences, especially trauma and move forward.”
Her second novel, the writing process wasn’t all that different for Butterflies in the System, with Powell stating the main difference was in the research, reaching out to journalists and others with expertise in youth protection in Quebec, to allow her to better understand some of what goes on behind the scenes.
One of the highlights of working on the book was being able to sit down with CTV W5 investigative journalist Victor Malarek, who had been in youth protection himself in his youth.
Now that she has the published copies in her hands, she says its paying off to see her hard-work realized.
“I feel like I can fly,” said Powell.
“Not only am I now more at peace with that part of my life, I also reconnected with a support community that I hadn’t realized just how much I needed. Having the book in my hands feels a huge accomplishment and I’m glowing!”
Butterflies in the System is available for purchase through Bacchus books or on amazon.ca and chapters.indigo.ca for e-book and paper copies.
For signed copies, people can contact her through Facebook or online at www.janepowell.org.