Feb 14, 2013

Review: 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.

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.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! How appropriate is this? Doing a review of Paper Valentine on Valentine's Day? I think it's a good sign...

I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about Paper Valentine. That the ending was a whirlwind; that Finny and Hannah's relationship was pointless; Hannah was a forgettable character; that nothing really tied together. Honestly... I really couldn't agree less. 

Hannah is a little... generic... at first, but that's the whole point. She's barely into high school when her best friend, Lillian, dies. Lillian is the type of person that always stood out. Everything she did was in an effort to be unique and special, and Hannah pretty much just followed suit, believing that Lillian had all the answers. Hannah isn't her own person, at first, coping with the fact that Lillian, who was the reason for everything she did, is gone. As the story progresses, Hannah begins to realize who she is, that Lillian has nothing to do with her.
...in the end, maybe the only thing I'm completely sure of is that I am not her.
Finny is a mysterious character, the bad boy delinquent with bulging muscles and bleached hair. He's not the kind of boy that Hannah is supposed to want, but he's the catalyst that triggers her "self-discovery." He teaches her, unknowingly, that it's okay to make a scene, to hold your ground. She realizes that she doesn't care what "they" think anymore, that she likes him and she's not afraid to stand up for how she feels anymore.

So then we've got murderers and ghosts. The only hole I could see is that we don't know why or how Hannah sees the ghosts; they just appear to her and her alone. Casting that little mystery aside, the ghosts are a creepy, bloody, vengeful things with an agenda and Hannah is basically their medium. It's awesome.

As for the murder/mystery aspect of this novel, only about half of it was obvious. When I started getting toward the end, I was like WHAT? That's it? That's way too easy and I totally saw that coming. But just keep going. Trust me. There's a lot more that you might've never guessed. At least I know I was pretty surprised.

Everything in this novel tied together pretty nicely. It's about love and death and letting go. It's about finding strength you didn't know you had and standing up for yourself and others. We learn this as Hannah goes from always wearing a plastic, happy smile no matter what, doing whatever her friends think she should do, to a girl who kisses delinquents, listens to ghosts, and realizes that life isn't a contest to be won.

Brenna Yovanoff's writing style is something that gets under you skin and lingers. It's dark and makes you imagine the most mundane of things in ways you would have never imagined before. She's definitely one of those writers in which I'll buy the book without even knowing what it's about ~ because I'm pretty certain I'll enjoy it.

4/5 Stars!

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Happy Reading Everyone :)


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this Keely, the reviews for this book have been a little mixed, but after your praising review I think I will have to pick this up soon! Great review! :)

  2. Wonderful review! I've wanted to read this book and I love how it sounds - hopefully I'll get to it soon!

  3. Wonderful review! I've wanted to read this book and I love how it sounds - hopefully I'll get to it soon!

  4. @Jasprit I'm so glad! It's totally worth your time :) I couldn't put it down...

  5. @BookSmartie It's dark and hopeful and surprising.. I really hope you enjoy it soon :)


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