Paper Valentine – Brenna Yovanoff

12109772Author: Breena Yovanoff

Rating: 2/5

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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.


Hannah’s just trying to deal with the death of her best friend, Lillian, when a string of murders occur in her small suburban town. It doesn’t help that her best friend is, for a lack of a better word, haunting her. For some unknown reason, Hannah can see and speak to Lillian, even though they are separated between the living and the dead. While juggling the loss of her best friend and the emergence of a love interest in Finny, Hannah begins to investigate who is murdering girls in her small town of Ludlow.

Pros: Yovanoff has impeccable writing. She describes everything so perfectly, you rarely find your eyes scanning the text for something of interest. Brenna can write about issues that afflict human beings without turning the story into one of those Issue stories. Lillian died of anorexia, Finny had cigarette burns and scars all over him, but it never turned into preachyness nor was it taken lightly.

Cons: I was hoping for a serial killer novel, one that gripped you and held you until the very last page. However, the plot seemed to take a backseat to Hannah and Finny falling for one another. I found myself often sighing, wondering when something good was going to happen. It wasn’t until the last few pages did the serial killer really come to light. Which was surprising, considering that no one seemed to give a damn about a serial killer and went about walking around at night. In a town as small as Ludlow, there would be curfews enforced and parents would be keeping their children under lock and key.

If you’re looking for a romance with a backdrop of murder, this is for you. If you want to be riveted by a thrilling who-dun-it, look elsewhere.

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