Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA Paranormal, Mystery
See it at Goodreads
The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.
For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.
With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.
Paper Valentine was not what I’d expected. It was my first Yovanoff book, and so I really didn’t know what the author’s style was going to be like. I also didn’t look into any early reviews before starting the title so I went into it with little to no knowledge of what it might be like or much of what it was going to be about.
It was rather a pleasant surprise. There were different elements that intrigued me--like a murder mystery and a dead friend that follows our lead, Hannah, around. I found myself pulled into the story, but there were quirks here and there that also bothered me. I couldn’t quite connect with some of the characters--especially the romance aspect of the story. I wanted to, and I tried, but I couldn’t. Finny was just there for me. He was just meh. I didn’t get it at all. And that’s probably only me.
At times, it was obvious the parents--the mom and the step-dad--could have had a larger role because the few scenes they appeared in, they were what parents needed to be. Parents. Concerned, caring, worried… and I really wished they’d been more in the story. It wasn’t quite another absentee parental type book, but they were sparse.
What I did enjoy was the mystery and the ghostly attached friend. This was where the real story was at for me. The details are creepy good and well done. The flow and pacing is easy, but there are multiple themes throughout that make this overall story complex, dark and engaging. To top it off, the ending twist genuinely surprised me and since that’s hard to do, I give that a thumbs up. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the near future.
Drama, mystery, murder, some romance, and the supernatural all rolled neatly into one enticing book. And just look at that cover, too…