Paper Valentine: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Paper Valentine by Brenna YovanoffLudlow is in the midst of a heatwave that refuses to break. The thermometer is staying in the hundreds. Birds are dying. And Ludlow seems to be at a breaking point.

Hanna Wagner might be at a similar breaking point. Really, Hannah wants nothing more than to keep pretending she is the shiny, happy girl she used to be. She wants to go back to living the shiny, happy life everyone remembers her having.

But it’s hard to pretend to be perfect and untouchable when her best friend, Lillian, died six months ago and has been haunting her ever since. It’s even harder when all Hannah really wants to do is think about Finny Boone and his expansive shoulders and sudden but surprising moments of kindness.

All of that pretending to be normal becomes nearly impossible when a girl is found murdered and Lillian’s ghost insists that Hannah should find out more about the dead girl and the investigation.

Soon Hannah realizes that she and Lillian may know more about the so-called Valentine Killer than either girl realized. Drawn into complicated dealings with ghosts, killers, and the enigmatic Finny Boone, Hannah begins to understand that nothing about dying–or living–is as straightforward as she once thought in Paper Valentine (2013) by Brenna Yovanoff.

Equal parts mystery and ghost story, Paper Valentine is a gripping, unexpected read. Yovanoff expertly weaves the suspense and tension of a mystery into Hannah’s subtler story of grieving (and being haunted) and a summer that has the potential to change everything even before the murder.

Hannah is a vivid, lovable heroine. She is handy, artsy, fashionable, has a healthy home life and is generally fantastic. A proverbial lady-in-waiting without her queen, Hannah is adrift in a world she may not even like anymore. This novel is as much a story of her growth throughout the summer as it is a mystery or a ghost story.Populated with a vibrant ensemble cast and evocative settings, Paper Valentine is an excellent story of enduring friendship and suspense (and it has a beautiful cover to boot–this one is definitely the full package.)

Possible Pairings: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Shift by Jennifer Bradbury, The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd, How to Love by Katie Cotugno, The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, The Weight of Feathers by Anne-Marie McLemore, I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, Damaged by Amy Reed, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith, The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein, The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams, In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

2 thoughts on “Paper Valentine: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

  1. I’m planning to read this one soon – I’m glad to see how positive others are about it! I will be looking out for the friendship aspect/theme. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It was definitely my favorite part of the story. Very similar to Code Name Verity in that respect though slightly less devastating.

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