Review: Paper Valentine


I should have listened to my gut. No lie, I really should have. About 25% of the way into this story something hit told me I was not going to enjoy the rest of the story. Did I listen? Obviously not because I finished and it was painful.

Short recap: Hannah just lost her best friend six months before and is not coping well. While dealing with her grief during one of the hottest summers on record, young girls are being murdered throughout her small town.

Just typing that paragraph above gave me pause. Why? It is only two sentences but for some reason the author felt the need to include all of those topics as main points of the story. I could not tell you what the temperature has to do with anything but it is constantly brought up throughout the entire story. It felt like a pointless thing to make such a big deal about. The overall plot itself was confusing. I had no idea where to put my focus. The romance? The ghost of the dead best friend? If this was supposed to be a chilling mystery, Yovanoff missed the mark big time. There was nothing chilling or mysterious about this story. This was a contemporary romance masked as a thriller. I still don’t know if the author meant to split the plot in so many directions like she did but no matter what, it didn’t work. Not even a little bit. So many unanswered questions about things she made a big deal about! I already mentioned the temperature. Why was the heat wave a big deal? What was with the birds? Why so many shrines? Why was Hannah able to see ghosts? Did it run in her family? Why include such a serious past for Lillian if you weren’t going to dive into it? Why the fascination with Alice in Wonderland? Why give so much description to the dresses Hannah wore? (that did not add anything to the story, btw.) So many questions!

As for the characters, talk about flat and forgettable. I don’t really know anything about them other than Hannah dressed weird and was a follower of Lillian. Oh, and Hannah’s younger sister (whatever her name is… See! Forgettable.) was supposed to be a tween or early teenager but she acted like she was 7. I wanted to smack her. Actually, I wanted to smack all of the characters in this book. They were all snots that needed a hard dose of reality. I did not give two flips what happened to Hannah. She could have fallen off of a bridge and I would have said, “Oh, okay. Good for her.” She came across as a weak, gullible, naive teen who just wanted a friend to like her. She, like the rest of the characters, had zero development. The weak whiny jerks they started out as at the beginning of the story is exactly how they end the story. Self centered, shallow, and mean. I could keep going but I think you get the idea. I’m not sure I’m ready to talk about the instalove that was Hannah and Finny (terrible name for a character that is supposed to be a mountain of a teen boy). It was awkward and uncomfortable. I did not ship any of it. And then there was Lillian. If you want the definition of a “Mean Girl”, it is Lillian’s character. That girl was bad news but still Hannah put up with the constant belittling, put downs, insults, and degrading comments. Some friend you got there, Hannah. Lillian had some pretty freaking serious things going on before she died and it is barely talked about. So why keep the ghost around? Who knows. What I do know is that Lillian’s character made me really dislike this story. What a nasty individual, in both life and in death.

I wanted so much more from this story. I wanted a mystery but instead I read a bad instalove romance. Where there should have been worldbuilding and character development, it was just words. There was nothing special about this story. Nothing stood out. Everything about this was forgettable. There was nothing quotable, nothing magical, nada. I just feel so disappointed. I saw so many other readers give high ratings and glowing reviews so I was hoping for a powerhouse but I feel I read a completely different story.



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