Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Posted December 17, 2012 by Lisa Mandina in / 4 Comments

First I have to say thank you to Razorbill Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me to read the e-galley of this title.  I have been a fan of Brenna Yovanoff since I read her first novel The Replacement, and then I got to meet her at a Maggie Stiefvater event in my hometown.  Maggie had two friends there, who were also authors, Brenna and Tessa Gratton.  I hadn’t  heard of Tessa before, but I had read Brenna’s book and was disappointed that I didn’t know she would be there or I’d have brought my book to get autographed!  I also have enjoyed her book The Space Between, and have one from BEA that I have yet called The Curiosities:  A Collection of Stories, which also includes stories from Tessa Gratton and Maggie Stiefvater, and I got to meet them all together again at BEA this past summer!

But anyway, on to this particular book.  I was unsure at first what the actual story was going to be.  A ghost story, a serial killer mystery solved by a teen, or even just a plain old teen angst story.  Really, a little of all of these was in the story.  The main character is Hannah.  Her best friend Lillian, who died about 6 months ago, is now haunting her.  The death was caused by anorexia or at least some form of eating disorder.  Ever since then, Hannah has not been the same.  She comes out around people and smiles, but doesn’t let them know what is going on inside.  Her old crowd of friends are still mostly friends, although one of them is really straying from Lillian’s ways, and Hannah is less and less wanting to be around her.  Part of the problem for Hannah is that she is trying to figure out how much of the blame for Lillian’s death can be put on her for either not making sure she got help, or even kind of helping her in small ways.
Along with the stress from this, it’s been one of the hottest summers in her town, and there has been a murder of a young girl.  Hannah’s aunt runs a photo processing place, about the only one left in town, and so of course the police use her store to develop their crime scene pictures.  Hannah sneaks a look at the photos before anything is released to the press, and she and Lillian see something that reminds them of a death from earlier on, that isn’t necessarily being listed as part of the same crime.  And soon there is another girl found dead, with similar markings.  The killer has left all kinds of toys and stuff on the ground around the place where they leave the dead body.  Hannah and Lillian begin to be detectives and try to figure out what they can.  Now of course, what would a teen book be without some kind of romance?  A school bad boy, Finny, has caught Hannah’s eye.  She’s not sure why at first, he’s trouble, and Lillian warns her to stay away from him.  But when he gets her bracelet back from another creep for her, she begins to see that maybe Finny isn’t quite the boy everyone thinks he is.  In fact, she goes to his house, and learns a lot about him.
But, as Hannah starts to find more and more clues to the killer’s identity, she even has a moment where she wonders if it might be Finny.  Especially when he is walking Hannah and her sister Ariel home, and they take a shortcut through the park, and end up walking right by where another girl’s body has been dumped and left with the trinkets.
A lot of times I can get a list of possible suspects in my head as the story goes along, but this one I was in the dark until Hannah figured it out herself.  I think that is a good thing for the author to have done.  Says a little that you are surprised.  Although, I wonder if there could have been clues that I might find if I go back and read it again.  But that would require extra time, and giving up reading other e-galleys and ARCs and other books sitting around in my house waiting to be read.  So, that’ll have to happen when I win the lottery or retire I guess.  But I definitely think this was a good read.  If you’ve read any other books by this author, you’ll enjoy it.  And if you haven’t, go ahead and read this, then go back and check out the others.  This will be published at the beginning of January, so put it on your TBR list.

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4 responses to “Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

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