About the book:
Title: Paper Valentine
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, mystery, thriller, paranormal, young adult
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.
Source: Read for school
How I Found Out About It: When choosing an independent book to read for a school project, this one caught my eye
I wish I could tell you that this book was legitimately like a paper valentine, luring me in, but in all truth, it really wasn’t. I mean, it was a good story and all, but it just didn’t woo me, if you get what I mean.
I had to read this for a culminating novel task at school, and my job was to track the topic of grief, and we will also be starting to write paragraphs about our findings of our chosen topics, as well as creating a scene from the book with the other people reading the same one. I was able to get some good notes for grief backed up with lots of evidence, which I think is GREAT, but as much as I wanted to, I just didn’t feel too much of an emotional connection to Paper Valentine.
For a short summary, this book revolves around high schooler Hannah, whose best friend, Lillian, was murdered about six months before the book started. Without Lillian, Hannah feels wretched, and worse yet, her ghost follows her around all day and tries to convince her to investigate the murder, which she isn’t really too comfortable doing. But, to please Lillian, she does start to do her research and see who the killer was, and she is horrified with the outcome.
Hannah herself as a character was just okay; I just found her to be kind of bland, is all. I did appreciate all of the development she went through, though (which I feel like I’m saying a lot these days, but it’s true!❤️). At the start of the book, once we learned about Lillian’s death, Hannah. Could. Barely. Function. She could barely go a page without crying, whining or doing anything of sorts, which I completely understand due to her grief. As the book went on, I could see a shift in her emotions from being depressed all the time to wanting to take action in what she believed in, which, in this case, was finding the murderer. I really liked how this book demonstrates why it can be great to leave your comfort zone once in a while, because oftentimes it will only bring you good things and make you a much stronger person.
The one thing that is keeping me from giving this book anything more than a 3 star rating is the plot. It was slow, it was sometimes boring, and it took over half the book for things to really develop and whiz by quicker. I feel like the first half of this story was basically just a super long introduction with a constantly weeping Hannah, so if the author got more into the story earlier, I think that this would’ve been a much more enjoyable read.
This book ended on a great note, though, and I actually did not expect the murderer to be who it was said to be!
All in all, Paper Valentine was an okay story, but it took me a very long time to get into. If you’re a fan of dark thrillers and/or mysteries with a bit of a paranormal twist, and don’t mind a slow-moving plot, then make this book your paper valentine!💌
Rating: 3/5 Stars