Hannah’s best friend Lillian dies six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can it when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders linked only by a paper valentine? Hannah can hardly begin 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 to move on with her life – and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff is an interesting ghost story that revolves mainly around character development. Hannah’s best friend Lillian died six months before the beginning of the story and Hannah is being haunted by her ghost. Throw in a few murders and the ghosts of those girls also haunting Hannah, and she is having one crazy summer.
Honestly, for the first hundred pages or so I wasn’t quite sure where this story was going. The beginning of the book mainly revolves around character development and plot setting. We meet Hannah, a high school girl who is understandably a little withdrawn after her best friend Lillian died from anorexia and whose ghost is haunting her. Right away there is news of a murder, but as it is the first and stuff like that happens, Hannah things nothing more of it, really and it becomes almost just a part of the story’s background information. All the pieces for the later section of the book are put into place, though. We discover that Hannah works at her cousin’s photo developing shop where she develops police photos from time to time, we meet Finny – the unlikely love interest, but not really since he’s the bad boy with a heart of gold underneath it all – and we begin to see more of who Hannah is and who Lillian was.
When the second girl is found murdered, is when the story really picks up. Lillian urges Hannah to look into the killings and when Hannah starts seeing and hearing the ghosts of the dead girls, she dives right in to the mystery. Hannah’s been a bit lost, but she’s slowly bouncing back and helping these girls find closure by getting their murdered caught it a big step in that. Finny helps, too. Of course, everyone can be a suspect and I was definitely surprised at who the murderer turns out to be and the reveal process. I think Brenna Yovanoff did a great job in that.
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff is an intense murder mystery/ghost story – the seance scene gave me chills. If you love in depth looks at character development, than Paper Valentine would be a great book – Hannah’s character has so many facets and aspects to explore. And while the beginning of the book was a little slow for my tastes, the writing is beautiful and once the murder mystery part of the story began in earnest I was much more hooked. Definitely a book I enjoyed reading!
Hardcover copy provided by Razorbill Canada in exchange for my honest review and tour participation. Thank you!