I was so happy that Paper Valentine wasn't just another pretty face (cover). Yes, the cover art is gorgeous, but I also found the story and charactersI was so happy that Paper Valentine wasn't just another pretty face (cover). Yes, the cover art is gorgeous, but I also found the story and characters contained within to be equally as enticing. There are multiple themes and storylines happening at once, offering readers a complex, but never over-complicated, story centered around the depressed and lonely Hannah.
Hannah isn't like other girls. Her best friend, Lillian, has recently died of complications of anorexia. That doesn't mean that she's gone, though. Lillian hovers around Hannah, both comforting and tormenting her. At times, Hannah just wants Lillian to leave. At others, she can't imagine life without her constant presence. Hannah's also struggling with her attraction to bad boy Finny Boone, a large, tough looking classmate missing a finger, who turns out to be surprisingly tender.
At the heart of this story, though, are murders. Yes, this is a murder mystery. Young girls are turning up dead in their town. Since the shop where Hannah works processes the crime-lab photograph, Hannah sees that the murders have a pattern of knickknacks and paper valentines left with the bodies. And I totally didn't guess who the killer was.
What I love about this book is that Yovanoff isn't afraid of letting things get creepy. There's an awesome Ouija board scene, and Hannah begins to descend down into her own dark psyche in order to help solve the murders.
Paper Valentine's a must-read for fans of young adult darkness and mystery. The insight into Lillian's anorexia and the dynamics of the mean-girl clique, as well as how people treat Finny Boone, will get your interest, but the murders will spurn you to keep reading to the dark end....more
I ate up Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star. Not only did it focus on the Jack the Ripper murders, which are a big interest of mine, but she alsoI ate up Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star. Not only did it focus on the Jack the Ripper murders, which are a big interest of mine, but she also has a really fun narrative voice. The main character, Rory, is a bit of a spazz, not unlike Johnson herself, judging by her Twitter account. Unfortunately, The Madness Underneath suffered a bit of the sophomore slump for me. It was fun to read, but just didn't have the impact of the first book.
We pick up where the last book left off. Rory is recovering from being cut up in the stomach, and is away from school, seeing a shrink to deal with whatever mental issues the attack has left. The problem is, she officially can't tell anybody about it, since she signed an official British form stating that she will never discuss what really happened that night. It's a little bit pointless for me to try to sum up what happens during the rest of the book, because it would take far too long. That's my problem with this story: the plot seemed unfocused and a little too loosey-goosey for my taste. It was more like a series of occurrences that were strung together rather than a real, cohesive story.
I kept waiting for the big developments, but they didn't happen until the very end of the book. And then. It ended. This was one of the worst cliffhangers I've read recently, but it's totally going to work. I'll be raring to read the next in the series the moment it comes out.
If you're a fan of this series, you might want to wait for another book to come out before you read this one. I won't blame you if you don't, but I think this will be far more satisfying if you have the ability to instantly jump into the next installment. Otherwise, it's kind of a bummer to be left hanging the way that Johnson does here. It's cruel, really....more