Black paper cutout with intricate details of a silhouette of a person with a long ponytail tied with a bow and wearing a ballgown, with a giant red heart instead of their chest,against a gray monochrome sky and grass background

About the Book

Title: Paper Valentine
Published: 2013
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: Be Mine
BFF Charm: YAY!
Talky Talk: Morbidly Delicious
Bonus Factors: MLD, Mystery, Ghost, Confrontation
Relationship Status: I Want To Go There

Cover Story: Be Mine

Lordy, this cover is beautiful! I love the barren landscape background, the symbolism on her dress and in the heart, and the classic side-view-with-a-pony-tail pose. MORE COVERS LIKE THIS!!!

The Deal:

Six months ago, Hannah’s best friend Lillian died, and though she’s learned to act normal, Hannah still doesn’t know quite how to deal with Lillian’s self-destructive demise — or the gaping hole in her life that Lillian left behind. It might be easier, of course, if Lillian’s ghost weren’t following her around everywhere she went.

Now, during the hottest summer on record in the sleepy town of Ludlow, someone is killing girls, and Ghost Lillian is pressuring Hannah to investigate the murders on her own…

BFF Charm: YAY!

Yay BFF Charm

I loved Hannah from the start, from the silk rose petals sewn onto her dress, to the way she loves her little sister. I cheered her on as she struggled to step out from under the shadow of Lillian, even while Lillian — even in ghost form — was still trying to be the boss of her. Hannah really becomes in this story, and it was a beautiful thing to watch.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Hannah was always too busy being Lillian’s BFF to really be interested in boys, but there’s just something about her too infrequent interactions with Finny Boone that sends a jolt straight to her pants, and that something is CHEMISTRY. Seriously, while the author keeps things rated PG, these two wouldn’t need a bunsen burner in class, ’cause the heat between them is so intense…

Talky Talk: Morbidly Delicious

Yovanoff has a way of writing that reminds me of fairy tales — the REAL ones. She transports me to a magical world where everything takes on a dreamlike quality, and shadows are both real and dangerous, without ever feeling like fantasy. I literally couldn’t put this book down.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Jordan Catalano, a hot brooding stoner, in My So-Called Life

Finny Boone (Finny Boone!!!! I mean, how MLD is that name?!!!) deserves a place in the MLD hall of fame, right alongside the Cameron Quicks and Owen Armstrongs of the YA world. From the Billy Idol ‘do to the missing digit, Finny was the epitome of dangerous, delinquent, mysterious, and oh-so-lonely.

Bonus Factor: Mystery

Nancy Drew creeping up an old stone staircase with her flashlight

This is one of the first mysteries that I didn’t solve on my own, and while that knocks my sleuthing ego down a bit, it was awesome that the author was able to get the drop on me.

Bonus Factor: Ghost

Little ghost sugar cookies

Yovanoff has a knack for weaving the paranormal into her story in a way that makes me wholly believe that yes, this otherwise normal girl is seeing the ghost of her dead best friend. That could happen to anybody, right?

Bonus Factor: Confrontation

Two little wooden people facing away from each other.

Lillian isn’t the only “friend” who wants to keep Hannah under her thumb — there’s a group of mean girls, headed up by one specifically nasty Regina George-type. Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I fantasize about what it would feel like to have the perfect retort, to verbally tear a new asshole into my own personal Regina Georges, but I think it’s often just better to call a bitch a bitch and walk away. Hannah gets a chance to throw down… and I was very proud of the choice she made.

Relationship Status: I Want To Go There

Did I mention already mention that I like the way the author sucks me into her world? I did? Oh, I see. Well, since I finished this book and have been back in the *real* world, everything kind of looks a little bit dimmer, a little more dull. So… can I go back?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Penguin.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Paper Valentine is available now.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.