Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publication Date: January, 2013
Page Count: 368 pages
Age Group: 12 and up
The spirit of her dead best friend follows her, her mother worries too much, she’s falling for a bad boy, her little sister insists that she is too good for said bad boy and there is someone murdering young girls in her once safe neighbourhood. This is the hauntingly beautiful story of Hannah, in the city of Ludlow, during the hottest summer on record.
I gave you a short summary just so that I could get to the good stuff; telling you how brilliant this novel is. Yovanoff is an accomplished blogger. She blogs about being home-schooled and how exciting it was for her to go to mainstream school. She blogs about how she use to alter clothes, her friends, love interests, working in a photo-shop that developed crime screen photos, and how she wrote all of these observations in her journal. Paper Valentine encapsulates all of this into a haunting and beautifully written book, where I was immersed into her world. The best aspect about her blog is her thoughts on the inspiration of Paper Valentine. (hint – Pet Sematary)
It’s rare that you find a YA book with four sub-plots, fully fleshed characters, (even the ghost of Lillian was so real that she seemed to crawl off the page), and a story arc that is finished beautifully. Also, her description, observations and use of similes are outstanding.
This book relayed the stories of Hannah, a character that I cared for. How often do we really care for characters? Katniss, of The Hunger Games, was the last one that I routed for as much as I did for Hannah.
The story was tight, pitch perfect, the arc was astounding and every important noun that was mention had a purpose. Every interaction, word, stray smile or news report had a reason to be there. There is a neat little framing device used with a reference to Alice in Wonderland.
I loved Paper Valentine. I was holding my breath, cupping my face, hiding my eyes, shouting, cheering and I even shed a few tears.
Brenna Yovanoff, thank you.
Thanks to Net Galley for the arc, I will be buying the book and rereading it.