Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In her chilling third novel, Yovanoff (The Space Between) combines supernatural horrors with others that are all too human. Hannah Wagnor is deeply depressed, unable to handle the recent death, by anorexia, of her best friend, Lillian. However, Lillian is still around: she's haunting Hannah on a daily basis-at once a consolation and a burden-still Hannah's friend, but making it impossible for Hannah to accept her death. It's one of the hottest summers on record, and everyone is on edge because of a recent murder in a town park. More murders follow, all girls, their bodies found surrounded by cheap toys and paper valentines, a creepy combination of innocence, tackiness, and gore. Pushed on by Lillian, Hannah becomes obsessed with the murders, while also falling deeper into her attraction to one of the local juvenile delinquents, the hulking, potentially dangerous Finny Boone. Against a grisly backdrop, Yovanoff gives keen insight into friendship, sisterhood, and the stresses involved in being a teenage girl, in a painful but satisfying story that shows off the author's gifts for writing dark contemporary fantasy. Ages 12-up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-The sleepy, small-town community Hannah Wagnor grew up in used to feel safe, but now, during a record-breaking July heat wave, a serial killer is targeting young girls. Depressed since her friend Lillian's death six months earlier, the 16-year-old goes through the motions of daily life, with Lillian's ghost a constant presence at her side. As more bodies are discovered, Hannah begins to see more ghosts-those of the murdered girls. Investigating the deaths, she begins to wonder how much she really knows about Finny Boone, the cute bad boy she's known forever but is only just beginning to understand. Hannah's depression is believable, and teens dealing with a recent loss will identify with her; however, the overambitious story bounces from guilt, depression, and eating disorders to child abuse, foster families, serial murder, dead birds, mean girls, petty crime, and ghosts. Paper Valentine takes on so many issues that character and plot remain underdeveloped. The murderer, once revealed, seems random and lacks real motive, and his ultimate confession to Hannah smacks of a Scooby-Doo moment. Following clues to discover who did it is far more important than insight into the psychology of a murderer or the fate of the ghosts in the end. Though it is engrossing at times, Paper Valentine leaves too many loose ends, too many questions unanswered.-Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Yovanoff (The Replacement, 2010, and The Space Between, 2011) returns with another tale barbed around the edges by the profane and the grotesque. It's been six months since Hannah's best friend, Lillian, died from an eating disorder, a fact Hannah can't forget because Lillian is haunting her, rather languorously, sighing over Hannah's clothing choices and criticizing her taste in boys. This edgy supernatural relationship intensifies with the arrival of the Valentine Killer, a child murderer who dresses up his or her victims with toys and paper valentines. Lillian is able to conjure the voice of one of the deceased, who supplies the girls with a clue, and soon the unlikely investigative duo is hunting down the criminal who may or may not be Finny, the hunky delinquent who's got Hannah feeling squishy. The killer-explains-all conclusion is pat, but everything else goes gangbusters, with Yovanoff's patent-pending blend of weak-kneed ennui and crackling nastiness turning pages faster than ever. Thrills, romance, gore what's not to like?--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-The sleepy, small-town community Hannah Wagnor grew up in used to feel safe, but now, during a record-breaking July heat wave, a serial killer is targeting young girls. Depressed since her friend Lillian's death six months earlier, the 16-year-old goes through the motions of daily life, with Lillian's ghost a constant presence at her side. As more bodies are discovered, Hannah begins to see more ghosts-those of the murdered girls. Investigating the deaths, she begins to wonder how much she really knows about Finny Boone, the cute bad boy she's known forever but is only just beginning to understand. Hannah's depression is believable, and teens dealing with a recent loss will identify with her; however, the overambitious story bounces from guilt, depression, and eating disorders to child abuse, foster families, serial murder, dead birds, mean girls, petty crime, and ghosts. Paper Valentine takes on so many issues that character and plot remain underdeveloped. The murderer, once revealed, seems random and lacks real motive, and his ultimate confession to Hannah smacks of a Scooby-Doo moment. Following clues to discover who did it is far more important than insight into the psychology of a murderer or the fate of the ghosts in the end. Though it is engrossing at times, Paper Valentine leaves too many loose ends, too many questions unanswered.-Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.