Paper Valentine

First Lines: My sister, Ariel, is sprawled upside down on the couch, pointing with the TV remote.  “News 4 anchorman Ron Coleman is totally doing it with special correspondent Cora Butcher,” she says.  “I bet they make out like hyenas as soon as Jim Dean starts giving the weather report.”

For 2014, I’m really trying to diversify what I read in terms of genres (paranormal, science fiction, realistic fiction, etc.)  This one fell into two categories: paranormal and mystery.  Winner winner chicken dinner.  I’m off to a good start.

It’s the hottest summer on record in Ludlow.  It’s insufferable, stifling, and it probably doesn’t help that someone in the neighborhood is killing young girls for fun.  This summer hasn’t been easy for Hannah.  It’s her first summer without her best friend Lillian, who died the winter before and now haunts Hannah.  While Hannah tries to figure out why Lillian self-destructed, Lillian keeps pushing Hannah to solve the new string of murders.  And Hannah’s got to stop thinking about Finny Boone, the delinquent who enjoys petty larceny and acts of kindness.  With the entire city in a panic, Hannah realizes the only way to get her life back to the way it was before is to solve the murders and get rid of the ghosts that plague her…before the murderer kills again.

Originally, I didn’t quite feel in the mood to read this.  Most of the last books I’ve read have been contemporary romances and, well, murder is kind of the opposite direction of that.  But once I kind of sunk into the story, I was better.

I love a good mystery, I really do, because I love trying to guess who is responsible.  Before I was halfway through the book, I took a guess based on the clues I had available to me at that point.  And…I was right.  Mostly.  There was one small twist I didn’t account for, but I was right.  I love that and kind of hate it because that meant I spent most of the book going, “This is the murderer!  Here are the clues that support my guess!”  It zapped some of the fun out of it when I could guess it so quickly.

I did like that there was a lot of minor plot stuff that you kind of had to figure out on your own.  They never explicitly say how Lillian died, but it’s easy enough to reach that conclusion.  I thought that fit the characters, because if they never wanted to talk about it when Lillian was alive, why would they start after she died?

When it came to characters, I was a little more iffy.  I liked Hannah, I did.  But I wasn’t sold on Finny Boone.  Someone was off about the way he was presented.  One minute, he’s a tough guy who really does commit crimes, and the next he’s doing something nice for Hannah.  I realize there’s a difference between reputation and the real person, but I just didn’t quite like him as much as Hannah did.  My favorite character, actually, was Ariel.  She had some spunk.

Overall, I thought it was an interesting story.  The mystery was good (maybe a little graphic at times in descriptions), but interesting.  I thought there were some good themes explored in how looks influence how people react to you.  However, there were parts that felt slow and chugged along.

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3 thoughts on “Paper Valentine

  1. I love the cover for this book, but I’m afraid to read it. I’m not a big fan of murder mysteries nor ghosts, and I’m quite torn whether I should read it or not. Will it scare me to sleeplessness? 😛

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