Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Nook Book, 368 pages
Released: January 8, 2013
Published by: Razorbill
Source: Own
For fans of: Contemporary Romance, Pretty Covers, Mystery, YA

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 the "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Replacement" and "The Space Between." (Goodreads

     After reading that book blurb and looking over that GORGEOUS cover, doesn't it get you super excited to read this gripping thriller of a mystery that's about a killer stalking the streets of Ludlow and there is one girl who is able to fix it all with the help of her ghostly friends and her boyfriend who everyone deems the killer prematurely? Well that's what I wanted too, but not what I got. I was really disappointed. 
     This book reads more like a contemporary rather than a mystery. I had myself all ready to be kept up late at night due to being scared, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. There were so many things I disliked about the book, its hard to find anything that I DID like.
     Starting with the writing, I won't say I disliked it, but I won't say I liked it either. It seemed to read more like a MG novel than a YA novel. But ironically, it was a MG novel that I would actually have enjoyed. While reading it I was able to picture everything that was happening. From the suffocating heat in Ludlow and the quirky, fun pre-teen that Ariel was. Her descriptions are fun and easy to read. 
     As for the plot, I was a little lost. As I said, I was expecting a full throttle gripping mystery and instead I got a contemporary romance. Then as I was reading, it seemed to just get more and more confusing. I was able to pick out what happened to Lillian, but after that, I found myself only wanting to read it because I wanted to know for sure who the killer was. It just seemed that nothing was happening and the mystery took the back burner to the love interest. Which is the complete opposite of what I was looking for. 
     What I DID like, was the characters. Finny is a broken boy and we all know I love my broken boys. He's different than the others and has a bad boy image, so naturally he is the one suspected for the murders. But he turns out to be a real softy. He doesn't say too much, but the parts featuring him and Hannah together is definitely swoon worthy. I ended up putting an entire paragraph on Goodreads as a favorite quote because I was like in total awe. And then there was Ariel, my favorite character. She was so sweet and funny and I loved reading about her. The only problem I had was the fact that she is mentioned to be 12 but acted more like she was 6 or 7. She was not portrayed the way 12 year olds in this day and age act. It just felt easier for me to picture her as younger. 
     All in all, I wasn't too happy about the way the mystery aspect of the book was written, but I was happy with some parts of the book. I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy it because I did, but it just lured me to read it under false pretenses. It really served as an eye opener for me, "Don't judge a book by its cover." 
Overall, I give this


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