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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Paper Valentine
Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
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 is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between.

Paper Valentine, while not the most amazing book I've ever read, was throughly enjoyable. Thought I struggled to connect with the characters, I loved the mystery in the plot and the overall creepiness. It was a fantastic, unputdownable novel that I absolutely read straight through. It was fun and delightful, and despite its imperfections it has crawled into my heart. My bleeding paper heart.

Hannah isn't actually a particularly memorable heroine. I had to look up her name when writing this review in fact. I liked her, but there was nothing really special about her and I never felt that I connected to her. She definitely has some fun quirks, and her determination to solve the mystery is admirable. Even so, she just didn't have that extra oomph.

Finny is the type of bad boy you see in the hall every day but never talk to until you realize there's more to him than he reveals to just anyone. He's protective of Hannah in a sweet way, but he never tries to dominate her which I love. I definitely thought he was a mystery for some time but I loved figuring him out.

Paper Valentine is really creeptastic and awesome. I couldn't put it down. I loved all the suspense and mystery. There's a slight hint of horror in the novel, and it's multi-dimensional. It's about the murders, but there's more to it than that. It's also about Hannah coming to terms with her feelings and herself.

At first, the mystery starts to be revealed sonly. We get a few more hints each time and have to try and put them together. There's always some new aspect, some random tie to the past. And of course, Hannah's friend Lillian, who is a ghost. She's not the best character, self-centered and annoying, but she really helps Hannah.

Lillian wants Hannah to stay away from Finny and focus on the murders. Hannah wants to do both. So she tries. It isn't always easy, but it made for some awesome entertainment,

My biggest issue with this book is the murderer was predictable. I didn't get it instantly, but before I reached the halfway pointI knew who had done it. It could have been worse, but I still would have liked to have been kept guessing.

But overall, I really did love this. It's a fun and dark novel that thrilled me throughly.

This book might actually have the least romance of any recent YA book I've read. There is romance between Hannah and Finny, but it's not the main focus at all. It's a true side plot, which I loved. It doesn't have to be the focus to be important. Hannah likes Finny, but she's okay without him. The way the romance develops between them is really sweet, and it's awesome because it seems to reveal another side of Finny.

I really like Brenna's writing. She has the whole creepy, disturbing wording and imagery down pat. There's so much to love about her detailed descriptions. They're horrific but not too graphic. She's really mastered the art of saying just enough, something that's incredibly important. I also think that Hannah has a nice voice. It's not stellar, but it's reliable, and sometimes that's what's most important anyway.

This is a standalone as far as I know, and I really liked the way everything wrapped up. It wasn't entirely perfect, but it was still a happy ending. There's no dreadful cliffhanger, although you can tell that life will go on for these characters. There's sense of closure and knowing that everything worked out in the end.

I really did enjoy Paper Valentine, and I'll definitely be picking up more of Brenna's books in the future. This one was just so damn creepy and wonderful. I absolutely recommend it to mystery and suspense lovers anywhere, and even those of you who are new to the genre or in general don't care for it will likely enjoy this one. It's truly a spectacular read.


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  1. I've got a bout 100 pages left with this novel, and I agree, Brenna's writing style is incredible. Everything written has a tinge of darkness to it. Hannah does seem pretty... generic.. but she's alright. I'm really loving Finny and all his mystery and Lillian.. she's pretty complex even if she is slightly annoying.. I still haven't figured out who the killer is for certain, but if it's that obvious, then I'm probably right :). Glad you enjoyed it!

    Keely @ Realms of an Open Mind

  2. Thanks for sharing your review! I don't see a lot of good YA mixed with murder mysteries. The predictability of the culprit would definitely bother me though.

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  4. I love creepy and wonderful! And I like the sound of the mysterious Finny, too. :) I had mixed reactions to the author's first book, but I'm definitely interested in reading this one. Thanks for the review!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  5. This one's been on my wishlist forever! Fabulous review - I'll be picking this one up sooner than expected.

    Happy Reading!
    ~Gin @Addicted to Words

  6. Brenna Yovanoff blows me away with her amazing talent of writing these dark and creepy but also hopeful books. I haven't read Paper Valentine just yet, but it is the plan and I am utterly excited. I don't read a lot of mystery and suspense but this is one author I will never pass up!

  7. Great review as always! I've been eagerly awaiting the release of this book, so I'm glad that it will (hopefully) live up to my expectations and hopes for it. :)


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