Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Wow. Just wow. Yovanoff always gets awesome covers for her books.
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 theNew York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between.
Nope, it’s a standalone, which is something Yovanoff seems to do exclusively (so far), and do so well.
Spoiler Alert: I already put this on my Top Ten Tuesday “Best Books of 2013 So Far“, so YES, YEAH, UH-HUH, and YAY!!!
Ghosts. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the ghosts are characters, and despite being incorporeal, manage to influence events in a way that is very, very satisfying.
Anorexia, but wait! It’s not an Issue Book! I don’t want to tell you anymore, really–Yovanoff has crafted the book beautifully, so that things are revealed naturally, in the way that they should be–but be aware that the issue is present, but no gory details, and it’s not Issue-y.
Brenna Yovanoff! She is her own Notable Thing, because she has such a distinct style. It’s sort of magical realist, because she makes the events of her books seem real and immediate, with very sympathetic characters. However, there’s a dreamy quality on top of that–maybe that’s the best way to describe her writing–like a really, really vivid dream that actually has internal logic in a way that few dreams do. Whatever It is that her writing has, I love It.
What a gorgeous, breathless book. By “breathless”, I mean that not only is the oft-mentioned heat stifling, but the apprehension and edgy feeling permeating the town is perfectly conveyed by the writing. The edginess is compounded by the nervous, sweet, and fumbly beginnings of a side plot romance. I devoured it quickly, and despite the conclusion being perfect, somehow still wanted more. I can’t think of a thing I’d change, though.