Title/Author: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff.
Genre: YA/Supernatural mystery.
Source: Oblong Books.
Favorite character: Ariel.
Synopsis: 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. ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts: Brenna Yovanoff has done it again. She has created a world with interesting, rich characters, a spine tingling plot and thoughtful insights. Her writing is gorgeous yet simple. Does that make sense? I think what I mean to say is that her prose isn't overly flowerly, yet still has a ethereal quality to it. Hannah, the main protagonist is mourning the loss of her best friend, Lillian, who haunts her, and her melancholy exporation of their friendship, their connection with others and with her friend's anorexia is astute and powerful. You can feel the sorrow and the guilt. What I also found fascinating was the presentation of her and Lillian's role with their clique. It didn't always put them in a wonderful light and I appreciated that Hannah wasn't perfect.
I thought the romance was great. Finny is a bad boy with a soft, protective side. He is complicated and at first Hannah and his relationship is too. I like Hannah's insight about him, and of her feelings and doubts of him. I also adored Ariel, Hannah's younger sister. She is so funny and feisty and is a great supporting character in this story. What I also loved? Parents. Yup, Hannah has a mom and a great step-dad who she has to be accountable to and are concerned about her.
There was a point when I wondered if Lillian was just in Hannah's mind or if she was truly haunting her and this doubt on my part only added to the story because I like it when I question plotlines. I won't give it away though, I'll let the reader discover the truth or make their own interpretations. Speaking of truth, the mystery is pretty cool. I thought one thing, then the other and finally when the killer is exposed (or unexposed) it is an interesting twist.
When I was trying to decide if Paper Valentine could be classified as a Horror novel or not, Brenna herself chimed in on Twitter and here is her quote: Brenna Yovanoff
All in all: Paper Valentine is a spooky thriller that inccludes contemporary issues. It is unique due to the beautiful writing style that Yovanoff brings to the table.