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Paper Valentine Paperback – 3 Jan 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (3 Jan 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0857078143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857078148
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 337,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Brenna Yovanoff is the author of Paper Valentine, Smoulder, and The Replacement, which was her debut novel. She is also one third of the Merry Sisters of Fate along with Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton. Brenna lives in Denver, Colorado.

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By Sam C on 22 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great read - Yovanoff brings to life a harrowing subject but never throws it in your face. She doesn't trivialise eating disorders, either, but hints at the emotional instability of teenage girls and the competitive friendships that exist among kids.
I was drawn into the story and the characters - there is so much intrigue and red herrings making this a truly gripping thriller/crime novel with a young adult twist, which is not only rare but refreshing change in the genre.
This was the first novel of hers I've read but I'll be seeking out more of her work. One of my favourite books this year!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some hours ago when i finished this book, I was exhilarated with it, and knowing how this can happen to me sometimes i decided to wait a bit, think about it, and then give it my rating and following review. It was quite wise because what was a 4,5 almost a five, turn out to be a solid 4.
Brenna Yovanoff as a special way of elaborating scenes, like last time with The Replacement , I was totally enamoured about the writing style and that amazing melancholic note that she gives to the characters and situations on the plot.
Hannah is a girl recovering from the death of her best friend , that somehow manages to stay in this world and haunt our main character, they both end up in a journey of mystery and loss in order to find the responsible for the bodies of girls that keep popping dead around town.
I felt quite happy with most of the characters on this book, they felt real, very layered and made sense on this history.
Although i really liked Hannah i must say that her "gift" of seeing dead people was very poorly explored or explained, it almost seemed a bit forced, because it was in and out while needed and that was it. Other than that sometimes i was a bit annoyed by the "silences" and by that i mean that she thinks a lot of stuff but little comes out of her mouth, do not know if anyone could be this silent about things, but, it is part of what makes this character special so i can't complain much.
There was only one char that I was quite disappoint with, and that was Finny, for someone so essential to a plot , we know little about him, nothing that explains his present and mostly his past.
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Format: Hardcover

I've been looking forwards to reading something of Brenna Yovanoff's ever since I saw the creeptastic cover of The Replacement ages ago. While I never got round to reading The Replacement, Paper Valentine has only renewed my desires to track it down in the library.

I'm really enjoying all these genre-bending books at the moment. Blending the issues around anorexia with hauntings and a murder mystery was an interesting mix, making for a rich tapestry of character development, interaction, philosophical musings, the paranormal, grisly murder and some truly poetic moments. There wasn't an ingredient out of place or overpowering the mixture - everything worked together to make what could have been any number of mediocre stories something truly memorable and spectacular.

The exploration of the after effects of Lillian's death is never schmaltzy. Hannah's guilt and grief are counterbalanced by her confusion and resentment. For every `I wish I had done more' there's a `Why did you have to be so stupid?' I loved that things weren't as easy as just missing her friend, even without the added complication of being haunted by her.

The mystery was fairly easy to solve if you were paying attention, and the twist ending was less of a shock when it was clear there were still too many pages left for a simple `happy ever after' though that didn't really matter anyway. Also, a big deal was made about the birds which never really amounted to anything, but perhaps it was meant to be a bit of a red herring. But overall, these are very minor quibbles over what was an excellent, creepy book which I devoured in about two hours (alone in a slightly creepy hotel room, which added to the atmosphere!) and thoroughly enjoyed.

Rating: 5/5
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By Katie Grotzke on 18 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book, definitely one of my favourites.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 62 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A great novel that kept me alert the whole time 9 April 2013
By Melanie - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
3.5 stars
What would you think if I told you to read Paper Valentine without reading synopsis? I bet you'd think romance immediately. That's what I thought, because of the pretty US cover and cute title, I went for it. Now imagine my surprise when it showed up on my doorstep as the Australian cover with this paper love heart, decorated with blood? I practically went all freakish as I always try to avoid ghost stories. Even though I seem to be reading all the ones being published this year.

Paper Valentine is a mixture of three main components: Contemporary, romance and most importantly, mystery thriller. Each of these aspects fit perfectly with each other, it's so obvious of how well Brenna Yovanoff can write. Even though the beginning wasn't exactly the best, as I read this dark and creepy book, Paper Valentine grew onto me. Expect this book to stun you with twists, cute romance and overall, a quite mysterious killer.

Hannah has been seeing her best friend after six months of her death- as a ghost. But that's the least of her worries, as there's a killer on the loose, murdering girls in Hannah's suburban area, leaving children's toys and paper valentine hearts on the dead corpses. As Hannah attempts to seek out the Valentine Killer, she becomes closer to danger herself.

'Ghosts are the kind of thing you go your whole life with everyone telling you they aren't real. I believe in them anyway, because the world is full of things that no one really understands. Mostly though, I believe in them because my best friend died six months ago and now she's with me all the time, materialising silently out of the shadows, creeping closer, reaching out.'

For me, Hannah was hard character to analyse and categorise. But one thing is for sure, this girl has depth. After some thought, I have come to a somewhat relevant conclusion. Hannah sets the mood of this book. If she's depressed, I was set in a melancholic subtleness, then when I reached the creepy scenes of tense mystery I was almost immediately dragged into this phase where you just want to look behind your shoulder and jump at every freak in the floor. Brenna Yovanoff created Hannah's personality so intricately genuine that it takes ages of thought about exactly WHAT type of person Hannah is, with the fat layers of emotions being played with, I still can conclude that Hannah was a loveable and appreciated character by me.

So like I was saying, Hannah was relatively a quite character throughout even though she manages to keep a cogent voice throughout the novel. But the siding characters she conscientiously mingled with, the connections were stable and unforgettable. My cherished bond had to be Hannah and her little sister's one. The way her little sister wanted to be protective of Hannah was not only cute but also ringed the tightness in this hopeful family and the same genes of Hannah, except her sister was more outspoken.

Another admirable connection was the romance. While I wasn't too happy about the amount supplied, Paper Valentine does justice with a bad boy. Finny; misunderstood, rebel, deep and willing to fight anyone in his way, mysterious, suspected murder even. All if those word(s) are it exactly sufficient to describe Finny perfectly. He is a bad boy, but really soft hearted inside. Nonetheless, he was the perfect match for Hannah- even though I thought it was an absurd match at the beginning, Brenna manages to satisfy with her secret ways.

One major thing that bugged the crabs out of me in Paper Valentine was the background information and loose strings at the end. I wanted to know more about Lillian as a person when she was alive, while there were flash backs and referrals, I wanted Lillian herself to open up so I could explore more of her. Same for Finny. Okay, so maybe he's a mysterious guy that doesn't really reveal much about his past, especially because he was the love interest, I wanted to get to know him more. Moreover, why can Hannah see ghosts? Why can she talk to Lillian? Maybe if there was a sequel, these issues wouldn't have bothered me, but quite frankly and sadly, there is no sequel.

All in all, Paper Valentine was a capturing sinister yet quiet read. For my first Brenna Yovanoff novel, I must admit that I'm off on a great start and will be eagerly awaiting more of her books. While the prose took some time to adjust to, this book filled me with chills. I recommend this book to people who enjoyed The Dead and Buried, Pretty Girl-13 and other mystery thrillers out there!

What happens when we shine the moonlight down through the words... AKA let's find the moral/second meaning in this book

This isn't necessarily a book about a girl trying to find the Valentine murderer while being haunted by a friend. This is a book about a girl redeeming herself after the shock of her best friend dying. About a girl trying fight her way of independence, of strength, and of a long lasting friendship.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Part Heathers, part Scream, and part Judy Blume 8 Jan 2013
By AJ - Published on
Format: Hardcover
PAPER VALENTINE by Brenna Yovanoff is a magnificently, hauntingly, wonderful book.

I first read Brenna Yovanoff in last year's THE SPACE BETWEEN. Her writing is arresting and-at times-uncomfortably immersive. It's as if Brenna cracks open her characters skulls and lets all the messy and heartbreaking parts spill onto the pages. In PAPER VALENTINE, that same raw and naked emotion drips across every scene. As in THE SPACE BETWEEN, we meet a character whose life has been battered by grief. Hannah had to watch her vibrant, glittery best friend wither away and die-only she never ended up leaving Hannah. Lillian is like a super pissed off Jiminy Cricket, constantly telling Hannah what to do and disparaging the choices she makes. It would be funny if their relationship-both before and after Lillian's death-wasn't so tragic.

No one knows that Hannah still sees Lillian, not her overly protective mother, her boisterous and outgoing little sister, or her trio of Heathers-like friends. Certainly not the criminally inclined Finny who tormented her as a child. In the months since Lillian's death, Hannah has tried to keep a smile on her face even as her friends become less friendly, Finny becomes more confusing and surprisingly tender, and girls start dying in gruesome ways.

There are so many achingly realistic relationships portrayed here. The most compelling is the relationship between Hannah and Lillian. It's laced with anger and bitterness and a love so strong that it defies even the grave. The relationship that creeps up between Finny and Hannah is just as powerful, just as alluring, but for different reasons. Finny isn't an obvious hero or love interest. But like all good characters, he's got layers upon layers. And as Brenna peeled back one painful layer at a time, my heart could barely contain him.

PAPER VALENTINE is part Heathers, part Scream, and part Judy Blume. I couldn't think about anything else for hours after reading it. The story will hook you, the writing will transport you, and the characters will forever reside in your heart. Whatever Brenna Yovanoff writes next-and I mean whatever-I will be reading it.

Sexual Content:
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Review of Paper Valentine 23 Oct 2013
By Lydia - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I really hate not liking a book. Especially when that book has a fantastic cover and title and a great premise backing it up. But this is the second time Brenna Yovanoff has tricked me into picking up a book with her pretty covers and interesting premises and the second time I've been disappointed by what I've read. And folks, that breaks my heart, because I really, really wanted to love this book and I really wanted to love Yovanoff as a writer. I kept making excuses all the way through Paper Valentine but finally, about 3/4ths of the way through, I decided to finish the book because I needed to finish it and not because I wanted to finish it. My excuses ran dry.

There are several big issues that I have with Paper Valentine. I'm going to go through them one at a time. You may disagree with me - but as someone who reads a lot of books each year, I can tell you that there is a lot of great stuff and a lot of crap going through my hands at various times and you quickly learn to pick out what is just not good.

First: Hannah. Where do I begin? She's haunted by the ghost of her best friend. She seems to have no backbone, then suddenly has backbone. She is into boys - but only those who seem to have hurt her at some point in her past. She is so many fragments of so many different things that I had a major issue trying to just figure her out. The real mystery of the story was "Who is Hannah" - because if I cannot identify with the main character, any other mysteries or strange happenings just don't make sense to me.

Second: Hannah's parents. I know little about them except they sometimes cook together and her step-father has a sleeve tattoo. Seriously - it's mentioned at least three times. I don't know why this is relevant - is he some kind of badass? Is he a cool guy? Does he represent something in Hannah's life? Where is her real father? How long have her mother and step-father been married? Is Hannah's younger sister a product of the marriage of Hannah's mother and step-father? These are valid, real questions and would have done wonders for fleshing out Hannah's background.

Third: Lillian. I get what Yovanoff is trying to do here with the guilty that Hannah is struggling with due to Lillian's death but.. seriously, repeating the same things over and over does not make Lillian's death more powerful. It becomes redundant and feels like a gimmick. Oh - Lillian died slowly, cue the tears. Sound harsh? Perhaps it is but I got so tired of reading the same lines (almost word for word) describing Lillian's passing. I wanted to know more about Lillian and why she ticked the way she ticked. Why Hannah didn't say anything. Why no one stepped in, even when the signs were visible, and most importantly, I wanted to see some kind of message on the right way to handle that situation if you ever see your friend experiencing it. Not just guilt after all is said and done.

Fourth: The mystery/thriller section. Okay, so I didn't get the significance of the birds. Yeah, it's creepy but it didn't fit. I could understand the constant descriptions of the heat - it set the mood (but mostly I just wanted to sit in front of a fan while I read the book). And finally, I was beyond surprised when we went from knowing nothing about this murderer on the loose to when all of the sudden it seemed solved. A mystery/thriller writer Yovanoff is not. This would have been better off as an exploration of the issues that Hannah was dealing with as a result of the death of her friend. The addition of a murder mystery plus all of the other elements put into the story was just too much. Also - what was the point of the paper valentines??

So those are my issues. Unfortunately, I cannot overlook them and so I will have to say that, unfortunately, I will not be picking up Yovanoff's future books - no matter how pretty those covers are.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Satisfying Coming of Age/Mystery-Thriller 6 Feb 2014
By Miss Bonnie - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Hannah Wagnor is struggling to cope with the recent death of her best friend, Lillian, and the details surrounding it. There is also the fact that Lillian’s ghost now follows her everywhere. While trying to overcome her guilt at not being able to help Lillian when she was alive, Hannah is also trying to understand how to go on with life without her. In addition to Lillian’s ghost which haunts her are several other ghosts that start appearing and they are all victims of a recent serial killer in her small town.

This is actually the first story I’ve read of Brenna Yovanoff’s and I definitely enjoyed the story and her writing skills but Paper Valentine didn’t wow me as much as I’d anticipated. The storyline itself was a tale full of emotional resonance but the combination of the ‘coming-of-age’ tale of Hannah finding herself after the death of her best friend AND the serial killer taking out locals was a strange yet engaging mix that managed to work for the most part.

The narrative is told in the first person from the POV of Hannah from which we are able to see just how deeply rooted her depression is. Hannah is a compelling character yet I found many of her actions to be extremely unreasonable especially when it came to the expeditious love for the local bad boy, Finny Boone. Like the time Finny suggested they take a shortcut through the dark park? When there’s a serial killer on the loose? Or when Hannah leaves her younger sister home alone and her and Finny go off to swim in the lake? The overwrought lines regarding him were also treading on ridiculous:

"And then we’re looking at each other, and it’s a look that goes on and on, stretching across space and time. Across galaxies."

The insta-love was there but was subdued enough to not be too bothersome. Seeing Hannah’s progression throughout the novel in finding her individual identity separate from who she was when Lillian was still alive was the most satisfying and convincing aspect of Paper Valentine. While this book had its flaws, it was a somewhat satisfying of a read and succeeded in capturing my interest for the authors previous novels.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good, but also a little hard to get into 13 Jan 2013
By Ashleigh - Published on
Format: Hardcover
See more of my reviews sooner on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I received in a swap with a friend.

Readers coming to this book looking for a paranormal murder mystery will need to adjust their expectations. Readers looking for an exploration of Hannah's grief over her best friend's death and a young woman who lets life float by finally doing something about it will be right at home. The deaths, while they do play a part in the novel, aren't the focus for much of it.

Hannah's a likable character with a boatload of issues she works through over the course of the novel, her best friend's ghost haunting her, and a crush on a bad boy named Finny (actually Finnegan, but that's rarely used). Her relationship with Finny happens pretty much just because YA needs romance, but more of the focus is on Hannah and her dead best friend Lillian. Even as a ghost, Lillian exerts a massive amount of power over her best friend by pushing her into investigating the murders. Between the deaths, Hannah dressing up in all sorts of beautifully odd clothes, and Hannah living life, we get glimpses into Lillian's mind as she spiraled into anorexia and eventually died from it.

Yovanoff's prose is beautiful--so beautiful that there are too many passages I want to quote. Oh, why didn't I mark any of them?! There are a few flubs here and there, such as when Hannah describes the way blood bubbles out of a wound like water when it's just starting to boil in a pot, but for the most part, the poetic, evocative writing style is the best part of the novel. If her story matched her style, this might be a five-star book.

Hannah is rather disconnected from the world; problems roll off her like water off a duck's back most of the time. Even her younger sister says if Hannah was on fire, she'd still say she was fine! Hannah's way of being distanced from life and the crimes also distances readers from the narrative. Getting connected to the story is difficult, especially when the mystery we expect to be drawn in by gets less focus than we expected. It isn't until the very end, when the killer tries to off her, that I got nervous for her and invested in the story.

Yovanoff can definitely write, and I'm looking forward to reading more of her books in the future. The two I've read from here have been rather average or slightly above average, so here's hoping she'll be able to write a book that can really wow me. She has the ability. She just needs the story.
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