Sunday, April 28, 2013

Paper Valentine, by Brenna Yovanoff

     Hannah and Lillian are very close, they have been best friends for years and they still spend tons of time together everyday. The only real problem in their relationship is that Lillian died six months ago.
    In her book, Paper Valentine, Brenna Yovanoff introduces us to a town called Ludlow. This town is experiencing an intense summer heat wave, a resulting agitated population, a score of dying birds, and last but not least a serial killer targeting young girls who leaves their corpses on display surrounded by cheap toys and a paper heart.
    Hannah's best friend Lillian thinks very strongly that Hannah should investigate the murders due to a strange ouija board experience they had together a while back where a murder victim told them that her killer left her with a paper heart. When a paper heart was found with every new recent victim, Hannah couldn't help but conclude that the killer was the same. Lillian emphatically encouraged Hannah to pursue the case, but Hannah was still trying to cope with Lillian's death from her eating disorder. It's hard to deal with the death of a friend, especially when the cold skeletal ghost of that friend haunts your bedroom every night.
    Yovanoff takes the reader on a stroll through Ludlow, a dark town with death looming everywhere. Hannah struggles with her detachment to the horrors of her town, she has a lot to deal with as it is. Her best friend dies, her remaining friends feel that Hannah has changed too much after Lillian's death, and there are an increasing amount of dead girls haunting Hannah everyday. At least she has a boy to get to know, Finny, who is conveniently there when most of the ghost girls decide to say hello. Maybe he isn't what he seems either. The more Hannah learns, the more complicated things seem to get for her in Ludlow.
    This book allows readers to fall into the mystery right with Hannah (and Lillian who always seems to be there). Many real world topics are dealt with, such as grief, eating disorders, trust,  and child and parent relationships. There are also the exciting paranormal themes of ghosts and messages from beyond the grave that are intricately woven into an already thrilling murder mystery that cuts to the core of the residents of Ludlow.
     Paper Valentine is an excellent book for 7th graders and above, students with the sensibility to understand the more adult themes of death and psychological disorders. This book definitely has a consistent darkness to it, and maybe readers who are younger than 13 years old or so should wait to read it. This book provides amazing topics of conversation for English classes, such as the clues to the murders laid out in the book, as well as the general topics mentioned earlier.


maria rendon said...

WOW! I really enjoy your bool review and it also let me intrigue about what became of Hannah at the end. I agree with the fact that this book would be a great novel for a a much older young audience just because it deals with life and death issues-it can be an emotional distress for a younger audience.

mkorkmaz said...

It looks like very interesting book and your review gives very good details. As you said younger than 13 years old should not read this book.