Sunday, January 6, 2013

Paper Valentine, by Brenna Yovanoff- Review

From 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.

Brenna Yovanoff has a beautiful way with words, it's poetic in its ambiance and the feelings it evokes from the reader.  I read The Replacement a couple of years ago and was blown away, and I've been coveting The Space Between Us for a shameful length of time to not own it already.  So it was with little remorse that I begged an ARC off a friend at the Ontario Book Blogger meet up in the fall, I had heard rumours of a third book but I wasn't aware that it was a fait accompli.  

Once again Yovanoff has captured a time and place like a hot, sticky bubble of uncertainty the reader just has to open the pages to step into fully.  Hannah is such a strong mix of unique individual and teenager adrift in a sea of uncertainty that I was immediately in love with her.  There was so much of my own teen experience in her relationship with Finny Boone that it seemed to echo around me as I read it.  There was so much truth to how ostracized Finny is, how crazy everyone thinks Hannah is for giving him the time of day, and I vividly remember being pulled aside by my English teacher in 12th grade and being told I shouldn't be friends with a certain boy in my class because he was "bad news, and going nowhere.", when really his only crime was not being an academic in high school, or trying to fit into the norm.  Dropouts, troublemakers and potheads, the gypsies of high school culture, were my people, even though I was an overachiever who wore flamboyant outfits of my own design, never skipped school and was beloved by all my teachers.  Like Hannah, I never really enjoyed the social hierarchy of high school, and down right loathed the way it looked down on those who didn't actively try to achieve a place in its ranks.

The secondary, but just as enchanting piece to Paper Valentine's story is the disturbing murder spree.  With it, Yovanoff has proven she is still adept at mixing the dark with the light by creating a chilling sub-story that manages to heighten Hannah's internal struggles rather then stealing the thunder.
Of course there is also the whole bit with the ghost of Hannah's best friend.  See? Complex, but it works, like perfectly orchestrated music.  It comes together perfectly.

You couldn't do much better than starting off your New Year with this lovingly crafted story.  It releases on Elvis's birthday, so you could always claim its your way of celebrating.  That's right, I'm all about helping you come up with book buying excuses. 

Paper Valentine, by Brenna Yovanoff
Published by Razorbill, January 8th, 2013
My copy acquired at the Ontario Blogger Meet up


  1. Well I have heard so much about this book, and I have a lot of expectations from the famous author. I might start reading this pretty soon.
    THANKS for the awesome review
    Your reader,

  2. We all need books to help us show our love for The King (right?) so this sounds like a perfect one to do it with