This isn’t the sort of book that I usually pick up, or at least, supernatural YA books don’t always appeal to me, but I was pleased to find that Paper Valentine is no mere YA book.
Hannah is your typical teenaged girl, minus the fact that she’s being haunted by her best friend who died six months ago. Hannah is trying to move on and leave the sadness behind but Lillian refuses to be forgotten. Then, mysterious murders begin happening and Lillian keeps prodding Hannah to investigate. When you add a disconcerting crush on one of the neighborhood bad boys, as well as regular friend drama… it is a miracle Hannah hasn’t gone insane. Yovanoff’s writing isn’t miraculous or amazing technically, but she manages to capture what it feels like to be a 15 yr old girl. The power struggles, the confusion, the general annoyance at one time or another with everyone and everything. Though, the book is a tad predictable, it was fun. In addition, Yovanoff manages to tackle some heavy stuff. “Issues” if you will. Lillian’s death, and the resentments on all sides color the book as well as how people deal with loss. It is a successful attempt at what I think other YA books shoot for but make either too somber, too unrealistic, or too light hearted.
This book isn’t for everyone. I’d suggest it to some of my friends who aren’t extremely interested in literary fiction, but like quick reads. I’d also recommend this for teenagers or middle schoolers. Though there are some darker themes, what with the whole murder/haunting thing, the overall message is quite positive and the relationships between teen girls will be extremely relatable.