Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review -- Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Summary (courtesy of Goodreads):  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.

And here's what I thought:   I've read other things by this author, so I was looking forward to grabbing this book from the library --- and I wasn't disappointed.   I liked how the author had the main character haunted by her best friend, especially since Lillian didn't really seem like she was that good of a friend to her; it's an interesting twist.   There are things that are hinted at in the story about the friendship between Hannah and Lillian, and also, about how Lillian died.   As, as mentioned, Lillian didn't seem like that nice of a girl or a good friend, really --- so her presence in the story is sometimes a bit disturbing.

I also liked how the author gave the story an interesting side character in Finny.  Admittedly, he sounds like the kind of boy I would have liked when I was a teen, so maybe that's why I liked him in the story.   I thought the author did a good job of developing the friendship between Hannah and Finny, and that it had its own twists and turns.

The fact that Lillian is dead, as well as the fact that there are murders being committed in Hannah's town lend a somber tone to this story.  Hannah's one of those girls who seems to live inside her head a lot of time, and I found her to be a sympathetic character.  While I found some parts of the book a bit predictable, overall, I liked that there were some twists and turns to the story.   I don't feel that I enjoyed this book as much as The Replacement, I like the author's writing style, and the fact that her stories often have darker elements to them.    I'm giving this a 3 as an overall feel --- I liked the story, but it just didn't stick with me very long after I finished reading it.

First lines:  My sister, Ariel, is sprawled upside down on the couch, pointing with the TV remote.  "News 4 anchorman Ron Coleman is totally doing it with special correspondent Cora Butcher," she says.  "I bet they make out like hyenas as soon as Jim Dean starts doing the weather report."


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