cover image Paper Valentine

Paper Valentine

Brenna Yovanoff. Razorbill, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59514-599-4

In her chilling third novel, Yovanoff (The Space Between) combines supernatural horrors with others that are all too human. Hannah Wagnor is deeply depressed, unable to handle the recent death, by anorexia, of her best friend, Lillian. However, Lillian is still around: she’s haunting Hannah on a daily basis—at once a consolation and a burden—still Hannah’s friend, but making it impossible for Hannah to accept her death. It’s one of the hottest summers on record, and everyone is on edge because of a recent murder in a town park. More murders follow, all girls, their bodies found surrounded by cheap toys and paper valentines, a creepy combination of innocence, tackiness, and gore. Pushed on by Lillian, Hannah becomes obsessed with the murders, while also falling deeper into her attraction to one of the local juvenile delinquents, the hulking, potentially dangerous Finny Boone. Against a grisly backdrop, Yovanoff gives keen insight into friendship, sisterhood, and the stresses involved in being a teenage girl, in a painful but satisfying story that shows off the author’s gifts for writing dark contemporary fantasy. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (Jan.)