Review Detail

Paper Valentine FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 3238
Great YA Thriller
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanof
Published by Razorbill (Penguin)
On Shelves Now
Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Creepy and Thrilling with a touch of sweet romance

This is one of those books where you read it and then wonder, “Why did I wait so long to read this?” I’ve had an eARC of this book since at least November, but I kept putting it off because I just didn’t know how much I would enjoy it. Now that I have read it, I can say without a doubt that Brenna Yovanof knows how to give you that fearful tingle that travels slowly up your spine until you want to run through your house and turn on every light!

The whole serial killer aspect of the story was slow starting—I think it was only mentioned once in the first 30% of the book, but after the murders start escalating, then the book really takes off. Now that doesn’t mean that the first part of the book is boring—I actually really enjoyed it. You get to see inside Hannah’s mind and into her life, and its heartbreaking watching her deal with the ghost of her dead best friend, Lillian. She’s angry at Lillian because she doesn’t understand how Lillian let herself waste away, never fighting the ugly thoughts in her head; and that anger defines Hannah’s current personality. I related to Hannah even though I had never been in that situation because Brenna’s writing just made the strained relationship come to life (in the face of death).

I really enjoyed the thriller aspect of this story, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not figure out the identity of the killer. I think I went through 5 different suspects before the truth was revealed! I never saw that ending coming, and that was what made this so great! I love books where I can’t predict what is going to happen, and unfortunately, predictability seems to be a common problem in the YA genre. I also loved the psychological side of this book. You get Lillian’s inferiority complex and low self-esteem and Hannah’s brokenness and add that to Finny’s (the love interest) danger-seeking, destroy me attitude and there are certain to be fireworks. Plus, you have a serial killer who stages his scenes like something out of a deranged toy store and the creep factor just zooms to new levels.

Perhaps my favorite part of the story was watching Hannah and Finny fall for each other. They are both so broken in their own way, so it’s heart-wrenching to see them cling to each other for support and trust. However, the waves of doubt that seem to ripple through their relationship make them all the more relatable and tender to read about. I loved that Brenna gave us a sweet romance to offset the brutality of the murders and the creepiness of the hauntings.

The only issue I had with it (and this is what makes me go with 4 stars instead of 5) is that there are some plot holes that are left unexplained. For example, Hannah is being haunted by Lillian, the ghost of her best friend. Is this the only paranormal element that exists in her world? Or could there be something else? How the ghosts appear is never explained, and Hannah never even questions the how or why of it. I just find that a bit strange. Furthermore, it never explains why Hannah is the only one who can see the ghosts. I would really have liked to know if it is a power she has or if ghosts can reveal themselves to chosen people or what not. That was never explained and it still leaves me wondering about it now.

Overall, this was a great read and it was definitely something different in the YA genre (at least for me). I have not read many ya thrillers, so the psychological warfare and the murders were new to me. I really did enjoy it, though, and I look forward to more from Brenna and this particular sub-genre in ya.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Gutter Girl (Twin River High, #1)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Star football player Jace Rovers has a secret. And not...
The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Riley Oh can't wait to see her sister get initiated...
Take Me Home: Forests of the World
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
Bite-sized facts about forests from around the globe, pointing out...
Hurricane Summer
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to the...
All Kinds of Other
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
In this tender, nuanced coming-of-age love story, two boys—one who...
Reign of Secrets
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
At the Midnight Ball, leave your inhibitions at the...
The Forest of Stolen Girls
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani's family has never been the...
Go the Distance
 
4.5 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
What if Meg had to become a god? After...
In Deeper Waters
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A young prince must rely on a mysterious stranger...
These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates...
Take Me Home: Waters of the World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bite-sized facts about bodies of water from around the globe,...
This Is My America
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching...
Colors in Nature
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Magnificent, hand-painted illustrations by a rising star of Czech watercolor...
Welcome to Arizona
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Arizona! We're glad you're here! Introducing a new...
I Don't Want to Go to School
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
It's Mouse's first day of school. It's Dinosaur's first day...
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Emergency Contact...

Latest Member Reviews

Gutter Girl (Twin River High, #1)
 
3.3
"GUTTER GIRL is a unique YA contemporary romance that follows two main characters, Jace and McKenna. McKenna is an outcast..."
The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans, #1)
 
5.0
"THE LAST FALLEN STAR is a thrilling epic fantasy. Riley Oh is a saram, a person without magic, adopted by..."
Go the Distance
 
4.0
"Go the Distance by Jen Calonita is the latest installment in Disney’s Twisted Tale series. This time the story focuses..."
Take Me Home: Forests of the World
 
5.0
"Advice to save your marriage and get your Ex Boyfriend/girlfriend back ,contact ogagaspellcastertemple@gmail.com or WhatsApp +2347059387282 for Urgent effective love..."
The Light of Days Young Readers’ Edition: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos
 
5.0
"What worked: This is one gut-wrenching, powerful collection of stories of young Jewish women Resistance fighters in Hitler's Ghettos. While..."
Unchosen
 
4.7
"UNCHOSEN by Katharyn Blair is a YA Dystopian novel set in the future after the Crimson, a virus-like curse, turns..."
Take Me Home: Forests of the World
 
5.0
"TAKE ME HOME: FORESTS OF THE WORLD is an approachable nonfiction book that teaches about different kinds of forests, from..."
Hurricane Summer
 
4.3
"HURRICANE SUMMER is a sweeping coming-of-age story that captures the difficult and at times dangerous transition to womanhood. Tilla is..."
All Kinds of Other
 
4.3
"ALL KINDS OF OTHER is an intriguing YA contemporary that follows two boys as they start at a new school...."
Take Me Home: Waters of the World
 
5.0
"TAKE ME HOME: WATERS OF THE WORLD is an engaging nonfiction picture book that teaches basics and fun facts about..."
This Is My America
 
5.0
"WHAT I LOVED: Tracy's family is an outsider in multiple ways in their Texas town: they're one of the..."
Colors in Nature
 
4.0
"COLORS IN NATURE is a beautifully illustrated book of art that features animals and plants. The book walks through each..."
Welcome to Arizona
 
4.0
"WELCOME TO ARIZONA is a simple, fun travel guide picture book for children about the state. The book covers fun..."
I Don't Want to Go to School
 
3.5
"I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL features Dinosaur and Mouse, who are both scared of their first day of..."
Counting Down with You
 
5.0
"COUNTING DOWN WITH YOU is a heart-wrenching and visceral YA contemporary read. Karina (Myra is her familial name) is a..."
The Light of Days Young Readers’ Edition: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos
 
5.0
"What worked: This is one gut-wrenching, powerful collection of stories of young Jewish women Resistance fighters in Hitler's Ghettos. While..."
There's No Ham in Hamburgers: Facts and Folklore About Our Favorite Foods
 
5.0
"While I was familiar with most of the information in the book, due to apparently all too frequent deep..."
Fate Calling
 
5.0
"Fate Calling by Lindsay Grace is a beautifully written fae fantasy about a young human girl named Aislinn and a..."
Reign of Secrets
 
3.8
"What worked: The magical aspect of this book had me turning pages quickly. It was easy to read and..."
In Deeper Waters
 
4.3
"IN DEEPER WATERS is an intriguing and fast-paced YA fantasy. Tal is the fourth of five royal children in a..."