Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
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.
Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
So what do a girl and her dead best friend, mysterious dying birds and a string of grisly deaths make? One awesome read… well, it would be if someone could please explain the significance of the dying birds. That aside PAPER VALENTINE made sense every way for me; it pulled me in too. There’s plenty going on: part mystery, part ghost story, then a little romance and then a string of grisly murders and mayhem. What better is how (most) those elements were woven together with writing that’s both engaging and haunting, but it’s not so lyrical to have the story (stories?) itself feel distant to me.
Surprisingly enough, even with mentions of mysterious deaths and ghost haunting, it’s the other kind of haunting that kept me reading. With her friend dead, the lead’s opposing feeling about it are what I bought completely. Her going from being angry about what’s (not) done to being sad over missing her, and then knowing the lack of balance in what was their relationship , but being happy enough in the set up… had the girl reading unlike any other lead I’d come across before.
For her with her best friend gone, she’s left feeling complicated opposing things… her reactions weren’t weak ones from angry to sad… but it’s all under this “I’m happy with the way things are” face. She’s different in facing her world. And I was sitting here attempting to understand if she was faking through life or if there was something deeper going on. It got only more complicated with others, the growing presence of best friend who happened to be dead, the growing presence of bad boy but not quite bad boy, and the growing number of dead bodies in what she’d thought (what they’d all thought) to be safe-quiet town. How she gets involved in the last at all was interesting because the question of is she crazy or is she haunted was still left up in the air.
As to the mystery, often do I complain over too obvious answers and too easy connections being made. Hold my hand through not so complicated plot threads or lead me along to follow so obvious a sequence of events and I get pissy. I wasn’t thus here. Though it’s not that hard to figure things out, it’s not all laid out for us to immediately pick up on either..There’s a sophistication in how she places her people in certain situations and then when the threads do come together, with you thinking you know who’s behind it all (well maybe) plus the reveals upon you… and well, I appreciated the way things came together in this one: not too out there, but not too simple either.
But still, I’ve questions about those birds, man.
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