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January 11, 2013

Review: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Title: Paper Valentine
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication date: January 8th, 2013
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 368
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.
I haven't read that many ghost books, so starting Paper Valentine was a new adventure for me. Hannah, is being haunted by her best friend Lillian who dies six months ago. When I say haunted, it's not in a bad way, it's just that Lillian's ghost is always there with her. They have conversations, and nothing bad really happens. This summer, there has been a string of murders in the city of Ludlow. Lillian, being the crazy person, or shall I say ghost, she is, convinced Hannah to investigate the murders. Hannah does start getting obsessed with trying to find out who the murderer is. Also, she can't seem to stay away from the so called bad boy, Finny Boone. 
I can understand why I read so many mixed reviews for Paper Valentine. It might be a bit different than your typical young adult books, but I found myself enjoying it. I'm a big fan of mystery books, and as long as they aren't predictable, I'll enjoy them. Hannah is a bit of a weird character. She dresses up in there weird bright dresses that have flowers and chains and other stuff stitched to them. I don't think I can say much about the characters in this book, because I really couldn't connect to them. The characters felt vague, and they were just introduced as they were at the moment. I didn't know much about Finny Boone, and the romance between him and Hannah wasn't that clear either. I assume that's what most people didn't like in the book, but for me, I wasn't bothered by it.
For me, Paper Valentine felt like a fast, light read. I liked that it had a "normal, everyday" feel to it. I never suspected the murder, and all my guess turned out to be wrong, so I was happy about that. Despite not feeling connected to the characters, I really liked how Lillian and Hannah's relationship developed.  The ending was good, and all I can say is that I enjoyed reading this book. If you're a fan of mysteries, give this one a try!


  1. What a lovely review, Farah! Thank you! This has been on my TBR for a while. I gotta get myself a copy! If only books arrive in our local bookstore on time...

  2. Farah, I love mystery books, but it's unfortunate that you didn't have much of a connection with the characters. But the fact that you enjoyed this anyhow makes me want to pick it up. Brenna Yovanoff definitely has a different writing style, appealing, IMO. I love this cover, too. Lovely review! :)

  3. I feel like all of Yovanoff's books seem really different and unique from all of the other books out there in the YA genre. The characters seem a little iffy to me, but I'm still really curious about the said mystery that you liked. I'm really glad to hear that you enjoyed this one, Farah! Awesome review. :)

  4. I think I would love this one. I am big on mystery and ghost stories. Anything creepy really. It's too bad you didn't really connect with the characters. I'm glad that despite that you still enjoyed it though. Awesome review!

  5. I really need to get this as soon as my book budget allows! Wonderful review Farah. Thanks for sharing.
    The cover art is awesome and I'm hooked on the description. I'll check out other books by the author also.

  6. I think I really need to pick this one up. I am a huge fan of all things creepy and add a mystery and I am in. Wonderful review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  7. I've been wanting to read this one ever since that gorgeous cover caught my eye ages ago. And that blurb got me even more interested!

    I'm sorry you didn't get that very important character connection in Paper Valentine, but I'm glad you still enjoyed it! Thankyou so much for your lovely, informative review, Farah. It's really encouraged me to hurry up and buy this!!! :)

  8. I can't wait to read this one. It sounds like a cute, fun story and I enjoy those any day! lol ;p I have seen so many reviews for this, so I am very curious to see how the story turns out. The plot sounds very mysterious and anticipating, and the characters all sound great. Too bad about the romance, but I'm still looking forward to this. Glad you enjoyed this, Farah!

    Fantastic review! :D

    ~ Maida @ Literary Love Affair 

  9. Ooooh this is a ghost story? It sounds really interesting! I love books where all throughout the story, I have various guesses as to who the perpetrator/murderer is but it turns out, they're all wrong! Unpredictable revelations are my favourite :) Urghh...I'm not a fan of books with poorly written romance and vague characters, but I'm still intrigued by this :) Great review Farah!<3

  10. I love ghost mysteries too! And always a plus when your guess is wrong and you can be surprised.

  11. The reviews for this book have been really mixed so far, so my initial excitement that I had for this book had kind of decreased, but your review has got me all excited about getting my hands on a copy of this once more. I have been enjoying mystery books a lot more lately so I have a feeling Paper Valentine will be right up my street! Lovely review Farah! :)

  12. I so need to read this.. I'm glad to hear you liked it.

  13. Yay Farah! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one too. It was kind of a strange little story, but I liked that the characters were left really open to interpretation, we never really got a firm handle on them. Really fantastic review!

  14. I love a good mystery, especially one that keeps you guessing. I'm glad to hear you were still able to enjoy the story even though you didn't connect with the characters.

  15. Brenna's books are always different, but very much my thing. I just got this one today and I can't wait to start it.
    I AM sorry you didn't connect with the characters, but oh-so-glad you enjoyed it overall.
    Fantastic review, Farah.