Title: Paper Valentine
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Published: January 8, 2013
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.
This is another book in my neo-gothic, horror binge I guess, and it’s one that I really enjoyed. Paper Valentine was a really quick read that I easily got sucked into the story. Hannah is an interesting character who grows along the way. Something that I found interesting that Yovanoff did, is when Hannah started talking to ‘the love interest’ she changed. In a positive way. She started to stand up for herself, and move away from the circle of ‘friends’ that had fallen apart after Lillian’s death. I really liked that when the love interest was introduced and confirmed that Hannah didn’t become clingy. She actually opened up and started to change for the better.
The story itself is really interesting. I like crime stories, and those involving serial killers and the fictional element to these murders was really well thought out. They’re graphic without splattering the pages in blood–and I think that’s something that adds to the mood of this story. There are hints, while Hannah sneaks glances at the pictures of the crime scene, or the last victim that Hannah sees in person it’s shown but not glorified. The hidden twist and the killer was something that I didn’t see coming. I like that there’s more to it than “THIS GUY! THIS ONE RIGHT HERE!” It’s subtle, and doesn’t give anything away until the end.