Day 36: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Summary From Goodreads:
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.
Well Paper Valentine was…a bit all over the place. I liked it, I know that much, but the details well…they’re a little sketchy. In the beginning of the book, the first couple chapters specifically, though I may just have gotten used to it after awhile, Yovanoff was using extra words. What I mean by that is imagine you have a daily word goal (if you participate in NaNoWriMo or are a writer of any sort you know what I mean very well) and you use a few words here and there that don’t really need to be there but help to pad that count. That’s what it felt like was happening. An example, right off of page one so it isn’t a spoiler (since it’d be in any preview) ” On TV, the anchors are looking serious, shuffling their papers, and I get up to go get a glass of lemonade.” Just look at the last part of that sentence for a while and see if you notice what I did. Maybe it’s all in my head. Anyway that was the first thing I noticed. I really need to stop being so overly critical right away, oh well, force of habit when you read & review this many books.
The second thing was the birds dying. I don’t know if there was a disease, I’m not sure that the cause was ever explained (pretty sure that was a no but not 100% positive) but what I do know is this, there doesn’t seem to be a point to them. Is it a metaphor? Some sort of symbolism? I have no clue, but after reading the entire book I’m left with no answers on that front. Weird. Also the birds in fantasy thing really needs to taper off, it’s beyond excessive at this point, especially with covers.
I realize this is a tad excessively specific so I’ll try to focus on my overall impression of Paper Valentine. As I said before, I did enjoy the book. I thought the main character, Hannah, was compelling and that she was quite the stoic MC considering she was constantly dealing with the ghost of her dead best friend. I’m not sure most people would be able to deal with that sort of thing as well as she did, so props for a female MC with backbone. She had a bit of a clutz problem going on, but that was alright, even when she was all over Finny after he helped her out time and time again.
Speaking of which, Finny was…well, honestly I’m not sure. The strong and silent type I guess? Outside of a bit of standard background info we don’t really get anything from his perspective. I’m not saying we should have had a POV switch, but no thoughts really whatsoever. It was a little weird but I’m fine with it, the romance was nice, sweet even. Not overdone.
The plot was good, the story interesting, but the jumps/flashbacks were a little on the discombobulated side of things. You really had to pay close attention to know exactly what time frame you were experiencing. Still, overall the twists and turns along the way were done quite well and the ending, well, even if it was pulled out of the “classic mystery ending” hat it still worked like a charm. I didn’t see it coming, so kudos to Yovanoff.
Overall Paper Valentine was a very good book, but maybe not quite a great one. My biggest issue at this point is who would I recommend this book to. There are certainly paranormal elements (ghosts obviously) but not so heavily that I would automatically tell that type of reader to go and get it. The read was certainly YA so I guess that crowd would be the go to even though that’s pretty broad. The style was more contemporary than anything but with the fantasy elements it might not be for the purists of that group. Whatever, regardless I think it is certainly a book worth reading, despite my lack of ability to categorize it. You’ll have to read Paper Valentine for yourself to know where to put it. As always thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 37!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge # 36/365