Sunday, October 18, 2015

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

"I am not the kind of person who gets haunted by anything."

The person Hannah projects to the world is a bright, sunny girl. But really, Hannah is haunted-by the knowledge that her best friend, Lillian, died and she wasn't able to stop it, and by the ghost of this same best friend, who continues to appear whether Hannah wants her to or not.

At the same time, young girls are turning up murdered around Hannah's small town.

What most impressed me about this book was how well Yovanoff avoided any typical tropes of a young adult paranormal romance novel. The way she writes Hannah and her love interest, Finny, feels fresh and new, even with Finny being a boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a heart of gold. The use of ghosts is clever and well-executed, and always serves a purpose. And you will think you've figured out the mystery right before Hannah does, but Yovanoff will completely twist things around on you in the last few chapters, and leave you gasping.

This is not a book that is just about one thing. It is about what it means to be a best friend, and what it means to be part of a clique, and how that effects how you act, and how you treat others. It tackles how the persona we present to the world is all too often not who we truly are inside, and how far we will go to be special in someone else's eyes. And it does all this with ghosts, and a serial killer, and a Ouija board to boot.

3.5/5 stars

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