…Brenna Yovanoff’s fantastic new spine-tingler? First of all, I love Brenna Yovanoff’s writing. Her first two books, The Replacement and The Space Between, are wonderfully creepy and beautifully sad. Yovanoff writes about teens, but not the way we adults think about teenagers. We think of adolescence as a time of irresponsibility and freedom, but from the perspective of a teen, it’s a time of insecurity, a loss of innocence, and a deep fear of the unknown. Yovanoff captures that sadness like no other writer.
Paper Valentine is Yovanoff’s most poignant work to date. It follows Hannah and her best friend Lillian during a brutally hot summer when a serial killer is striking at the heart of their sleepy town. The complication? Lillian has been dead for six months.
The beauty of Yovanoff’s writing is that as a reader, you hardly notice that Lillian is a ghost. The dialogue is so strikingly honest, I became absorbed in the unique relationship that Hannah and Lillian share. Her characters use the language we really use, and feel emotions that we really feel. Most writers avoid feelings of ambivalence and confusion, but Yovanoff embraces them.
I highly recommend Paper Valentine to teens and adults who are interested in breaking into young adult fiction.
Reviewed by Sara (staff)