Paranormal · YA

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

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.

Source: ARC received from Sarah @ The Greenhouse Literary Agency

Favorite Quotes:

Appealing and dangerous can sometimes look like the same thing.

The feeling of him next to me was so right, like something I never knew I wanted.

Story Breakdown: 

The books starts with Hannah watching the news with her little sister. A local girl was murdered and found in the park and though Hannah tries to convince herself it is a single occurrence her best friend Lillian doesn’t think that is the case. Problem with that? Lillian has been dead for 6 months. There begins the town’s descent into lockdown, the unraveling mystery of the murders, as well as bits and pieces as to why Lillian died six months ago and is haunting Hannah.

Character Highlights:

Hannah – Dealing with not only her best friend’s death and haunting, but adjusting to the town’s newly minted serial killer and a potential relationship Hannah has a lot going on.  I loved that she was a strong character and for the most part didn’t give off the “I’m invincible” teenage vibe that runs rampant in YA books today.  She holds her own and learns to grow and I found she was a very well developed character.

Ariel –  Hannah’s little spitfire sister.  I see quite a bit of myself in her and I think she might have deserved a bit more book time.

Lillian – Since Lillian is a ghost in this book she isn’t a hard one to read.  I liked that though she was a ghost she was like any other character.  She talked, listened, showed Hannah the way in finding clues, and watched out for her when needed.  I do think that in the flashbacks of her relationship with Hannah there could have been more explained throughout the book.  Almost that the book could have doubled in size and it wouldn’t have been enough for me.

Finny- Ah, Finny Boone.  With a name like that what girl could resist?  Troubled in his own way he falls into my category with Lillian, I want more of his story.  Abused and damaged in his own way there are so many levels I feel like I’m missing from him.

General Thoughts:

I love that there wasn’t any crazy family drama outside of normal day to day activities and that the story focuses on the killings and Hannah’s budding relationship with Finny Boone.   Paper Valentine doesn’t just follow a murder investigation but also teens and the pressures they go through to fit in and be accepted by their peers and family.  As you learn more about Lillian and how she died you also find out more about Hannah herself and how she fit into the box that was required of her instead of pursuing who and what she loved.   I’d classify this as a contemporary with a bit of supernatural which is not a book I would normally gravitate towards but I truly enjoyed this one. Both Ms Yovanoff’s writing and her covers have a dark and morbid quality that is very addictive. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.


8 thoughts on “Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

  1. I am really looking forward to read Paper Valentine. I have it from Netgalley, but haven’t had a chance to start reading it yet. I’m glad that you liked it, even if you wish there were more of certain characters.

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