Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff. Goodreads Synopsis: The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. 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. 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.
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Remember Me. Star ratings in yellow are from our Staff Reviewers. Star ratings in green are reader reviews. Anyone can post a reader review, so post yours today! We have all sorts of YABC buttons for your website. Grab one here and link to YABC! FAQs Advertise Become a member. How to resolve AdBlock issue? Write Review Add to favorites. Author s. Brenna Yovanoff. Paranormal Romance Ghosts Mystery.
The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. 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. 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. Editor reviews 1 reviews.
December 05, Overall rating. When I went to ALA in , one of the numerous ARCs I picked up and took home, in a haze of disbelief that people would want to give me free books just because I was in training to be a librarian, was Yovanoff's debut novel The Replacement.
The Penguin publicist I spoke to hyped it big time, I think because it was part of their Breathless Reads collection. Something I've learned about myself since is that I don't tend to be a huge fan of the most-hyped books put into those collections, though they do tend to do very well, they just are not my thing.
Such was the case with The Replacement, which showed promise in the gothic tone and writing, but mostly fell flat. When I was sent a review copy of Paper Valentine, I really did not get that excited, but I did resolve to give Yovanoff another try, and I am so glad that I did, because she has grown a lot as a writer since her debut novel.
Ever since Lillian's death from anorexia, Hannah has been haunted by her best friend. Not by the memory of Lillian, no, but by her ghost. Lillian follows her around, giving her advice or criticizing her behavior, or both at the same time. Only Hannah can see Lillian, and, after six months of this, Hannah's pretty resigned to it, even though it can be an inconvenience and having ghost Lillian around isn't the same as having the real Lillian there. Paper Valentine follows a lot of different plot lines, weaving them together expertly into a powerful novel.
The first arc deals with friendship, with peer pressure, and with self-acceptance. Hannah and Lillian were incredibly close, best friends forever. They were also the most popular girls in school, making their own style and setting the trends. With Lillian gone, stuck with the rest of their group, now dominated by Angelie, Hannah's coming to realize that, much as she loved her, Lillian wasn't a very nice person all the time and that she could be a bad influence on Hannah.
Watching Hannah come into her own as a person, both accepting the parts of herself wholly unlike Hannah and incorporating a bit of Hannah's advice made me so glad for her. Hannah needed a bit of Lillian's gumption, enough that she could tell off Angelie for being horrible and rude, but also needed to be Hannah-enough to not get too hung up on being popular. Family, though a more minor thread certainly, still plays a crucial role in Paper Valentine. The parents are mostly absent, though the mother does ground Hannah for sneaking out and insist on meeting a boy before Hannah can go out with him.
The relationship being dissected here is that of the two sisters, Hannah and Ariel. Though Ariel annoys her, understandably so, the two clearly have so much love for one another. Hannah can see how much Ariel tries to protect her and gets what Hannah is going through more than their mother and step-father do. I found their relationship touching, and loved that there was much more focus upon it than usual.
The book gets much creepier than just Lillian's ghost, however. Girls are being murdered, left in the park, heads bashed in, surrounded by the trappings of childhood, toys and candy. Next to each body is a paper heart.
Needless to say Hannah will become wrapped up in the murders. Yovanoff does suspense and eerie settings very well, and there were some scenes that straight up freaked me out. What made Paper Valentine special, though, was how Hannah reacts when she finds herself in danger: she uses her brain and does not just collapse into a weeping heap waiting to be rescued. Unlike some heroines, she doesn't spend her doom-filled moments thinking of how much she loves some boy, but of ways to escape and of her sister and her dead best friend.
As with when she fought back against bossy Angelie, Hannah held her own and refused to be cowed, and that just made me respect her and root for her so much. Admittedly, I was quite skeptical of the romance at first, because I feared it was going straight down stereotype highway.
See, Hannah has a secret crush on one of the bad boys. When we first see him, he's wearing a wife beater, even. He dyes his hair white-blonde with Clorox, has tattoos, and a missing pinkie. Early on, he shoplifts. I mean, not really swoon material. He never really does become the kind of guy I would swoon over, but Yovanoff makes him work, and I totally ended up shipping Hannah and Finny, who made me think a bit of Hanna and Caleb from Pretty Little Liars.
Also, their romance reminded me a bit of Pushing the Limits too, only with less focus on romance, no pet names, and a murder mystery. Yovanoff gives the reader a little bit of everything, and, after my lackluster first experience, I now plan to read The Space Between, her second novel, as well as whatever she has coming next. What a wonderful lesson in the importance of not writing an author off based on one book, especially a debut, because they have so much room to grow.
Christina Franke, Staff Top 10 Reviewer reviews. Report this review Comments 1 Was this review helpful to you? User reviews 3 reviews Overall rating. Already have an account? Log in now or Create an account. Paper Valentine. March 25, As other reviewers have said, readers in search of a murder mystery should not pick up Paper Valentine in hopes of an enthralling chase to unmask a serial killer. Instead, Paper Valentine is about a girl and a ghost and relationships and imperfect people.
Everything was subtle, kept beneath the surface, and, in my opinion, masterfully done. This entire novel is approached with a fairly light hand, and the story was allowed to grow and shape organically. Authorial presence in this book is kept to a minimum. Lillian died six months ago after several years of being anorexic.
Her selfishness, her need for control, her obsession with perfection, her snobbishness. But in some way, Hannah still clings to Lillian, and neither of the girls is able to let the other go.
Her parents and younger sister are understandably freaked out, and so is Hannah in a less significant way. Primarily, Hannah and Lillian take on something of an obsession with the murders, and that leads them into trouble. Trouble, in this case, takes the form of Finny Boone, a trouble youth with the scars and foster care experience to prove it. Initially, Hannah is taken aback by her attraction for Finny, but not for long. He glances over, squinting at me. First to her friends, who are jealous and petty and snooty.
As the different relationships in her life come into sharp relief, Hannah is forced to think about things and people differently. Eventually, of course, the serial killer catches up with Hannah and Lillian and Finny. But it all comes out right in the end, of course. Everyone safe and sound, happy and well. But Hannah still has to learn to come to terms with Lillian. Who she was, who she is as a ghost, and what their relationship meant.
Paper Valentine is a book that really defies categorization. It is its own entity, separate from anything else either the paranormal or mystery genres have to offer.
Renae M Top 50 Reviewer reviews. Report this review Comments 0 Was this review helpful to you? Great YA Thriller. March 01, Now that I have read it, I can say without a doubt that Brenna Yovanof knows how to give you that fearful tingle that travels slowly up your spine until you want to run through your house and turn on every light!
I really enjoyed the thriller aspect of this story, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not figure out the identity of the killer. I think I went through 5 different suspects before the truth was revealed!
I never saw that ending coming, and that was what made this so great! I also loved the psychological side of this book. Plus, you have a serial killer who stages his scenes like something out of a deranged toy store and the creep factor just zooms to new levels.
REVIEW: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff- Review
I love Finny. He's the most unorthodox hero. I love, love, love this cover! It is just stunning. I am glad you enjoyed this one, and it does sound good. Loved your honest review.
I read your debut novel, The Replacement , a couple years ago and loved it. I put your sophomore effort, The Space Between , on my list of books to check out but it never quite happened. There are so many books out there; sometimes I lose track. But when I was offered the opportunity to review your new novel, Paper Valentine , I leapt at the chance. Hannah Wagnor is one of the It Girls. Or rather, was.
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