Valentine is the first in a smart, witty and page-turning YA series with a paranormal twist for fans of Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas.
Four teenagers – all born on the same Valentine’s Day – begin to disappear. As the bodies mount up, Pearl Linford has to work out what in the supernatural hell is going on, before it happens to her.
Finn Blacklin is the boy with whom Pearl shares a birthday, the boy she has known all her life and disliked every second of it, the boy her subconscious has a totally annoying crush on. Finn is also the Valentine: a Seelie fairy changeling swapped for a human boy at birth. The Unseelie have come to kill the Valentine – except they don’t know who it is. And now both the Seelie and the Unseelie think Pearl is the Valentine, and if they find out she isn’t, she’ll disappear too.
Pearl must use all her wits to protect herself. Finn must come to terms with his newfound heritage. And then there’s the explosive chemistry between them that neither of them know quite what to do about . . .
Jodi is the author of the Valentine series, a young adult paranormal romance/urban fantasy series about smart girls, small towns, and scary fairies. There are three books in the series available: Valentine (2017), Ironheart (2018), and Misrule (2019), all published by Penguin Teen Australia. If Picnic at Hanging Rock meets Holly Black sounds like something you’d be into, these are the books for you.
Jodi is originally from Kiama, a seaside holiday town on the south coast of New South Wales, and has lived in a bunch of different cities: Canberra (where she did her undergrad degrees), Wollongong (where she lived while she did her PhD in Sydney), and Hobart (where she held her first academic job) among them. Currently, she lives in Melbourne, where she works as a Lecturer in Writing and Literature at Deakin University.
When she’s not writing about clever girls and cunning fairies, Jodi is an academic. Her research focuses on representations of love in popular culture and fiction. It means that reading romance novels and watching (and let’s be real, writing huge amounts about) The Bachelor/ette is technically work for her.
You can find Jodi on Twitter at @JodiMcA, where she tweets regularly about her research, her writing, cool things she finds interesting, her hero worship of Kate Bush, and her slightly-too-intense passion for The Bold and the Beautiful.
(She’s not joking about that last one. In 2015, she got invited to visit the set of The Bold and the Beautiful, and it was the best thing that has ever happened to her in her entire life.)
THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. (Also, I did a full-on, proper review for this, with a structured response, be proud??? I'm not JUST rambling for once)
In the first chapter, I was a little turned off because a) I usually HATE Australian YA books, and b) There was a sentence where Pearl (the protag's) inner-monologue drifts off and she thinks "OMFG" which is just... god-awful. But once you ignore the slightly off-key tone of a typical teenager, this book is really engaging.
At least for me. Pearl and I are quite similar.
This book is extremely romantic and fun, with a perfect amount of mystical mystery!
This book has a great amount of diversity, which I really appreciate. I mean, the main hunk in this book is Cardy. An Aboriginal Australian.Whaaaaaat??? A HOT Aboriginal lead????? THis IS UnHEard OF!!!! How can this be possible?????????? GOD-FREAKING-BLESS. THIS IS A NEED. I know many may not care, especially to those who aren't invested in Australian politics, but I think it's really cool that the author made the teen heart-throb in this, an indigenous teenager. Who's known for being smart, athletic, and basically... all-around perfect.
Secondly, Pearl has a unique family situation. She's raised by her mid-thirties older siblings (who're twins). Dean (I think that's his name) is a night owl, and her older sister Paradise, is a lesbian. HELL. YUS. And it wasn't overly sexualised or hyped, it was perfectly written into the story. AND it deals with females losing their hair (which leads to sexism and super interesting struggles many deal with).
I don't want to say much about the plot, I think it's best if you know little about it. IF YOU ENJOY FAERIES, "THE CHOSEN ONE" TROPE, "HATE TURNS TO LOVE" TROPE, AND A SUPER FUN STORY WITH LOVEABLE CHARACTERS: READ! THIS! BOOK!!!
I can't wait for Ironheart. I need more! It almost felt a little too short for me.
Something that got me hooked was the dreams that Pearl had. She was having these little snippets of super niceHOT scenes with Finn, which you see eventually occur in the latter half of the story.
The fairy politics almost seemed a little too broad, but I trust it'll be more in-depth in future books.
FAVOURITE SCENE: The night Pearl broke down, and Finn stayed over. Most romantic speech I've ever read. That's all I will say.
The ending is satisfying, a little rushed, especially compared to the beginning where we have Pearl in the hospital for agggges (not really-- but it felt like it because Finn wasn't there).
I 100% APPRECIATED THIS STORY BEING ABOUT TEENS IN AUSTRALIA WHO ALSO DEAL WITH SILLY HIGH SCHOOL WOES (but stuff I just graduated from-- thank god) BUT STILL INCLUDES MY FAVOURITE FANTASY ELEMENT: FAIRIES.
THIS WAS THE BEST. I WISH I COULD FORGET THIS STORY SO I COULD ENJOY THE JOURNEY ALL OVER AGAIN.
I'm the first to admit that I'm kinda fairy'd out these days, mostly because once upon a time I read a lot of fae/fairy/faerie/however-you-want-to-spell-it books, and the whole concept of Seelie vs Unseelie grew a little... tired... for me.
BUT all that said, I really enjoyed reading Valentine and found it a solid, refreshing addition to the genre. For a debut, McAlister has written a wonderfully entertaining story full of genuine, realistic characters who (*gasp*) manage to stay in character (*insert applause here*). There were some cool twists and turns that, had I not read so many similar books back in the day, would have kept me on the edge of my seat questioning what was going to happen next... and instead had me looking forward with the satisfaction of knowing where the story was headed while still enjoying being along for the ride.
I'd definitely recommend this book to lovers of YA, especially those who haven't read many fairy books and/or those who can't get enough of them!
I picked up this book off of the bookshelf of my local Big W, knowing nothing about it. The blurb peaked my interest enough for me to make the purchase. By the time I got home and searched online, I discovered it was written by an Australian Author and I was excited to start it. I haven't had the time to read many fantasy books written by Aussie's before, even though I have so many waiting to be read, so Valentine was the first. And I'm really glad it was.
I was completely surprised at how easy the story flowed, and at a steady pace. We weren't bombarded immediately with the supernatural, but slowly introduced to it through the imaginative world being weaved. A world interlaced with magic, murder and mystery. With the darkness and the light, all intertwined together.
Within this world, set amongst the sleepy small town, six hours away from the bustling city of Sydney, we are introduced to a main protagonist, Pearl, who is nothing but ordinary to all but spectacular to some. She has a dry sense of humour that is uniquely "Australian" and absolutely typical, as teenagers can get. I really found her character and voice to be a breath of fresh air to all those in this genre. I don't know how to describe it except maybe it's because it's set in Australia, with an Aussie teenager, in a genre that I love, that I really rather enjoyed her flaws and ramblings. This might annoy some, but I just welcomed it.
What's so great about this story is that not only do we get to discover what's going on, the same time the main characters do, but that it's feels so believable. That it's also happening to me and not just Pearl and Finn (who, by the way, is the typical bad boy, but is not afraid to show how vulnerable and scared he really is. Really refreshing to see that he isn't just the guy that comes in to save the day, but needs saving himself. Oh, and doesn't hurt that he's sexy too.)
Anyways, I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series. Valentine really surprised me and I'm keen to know what happens between Pearl and Finn, and if they will ever get to break this tension they have going on, again. A little romance goes a long way in books.
Meh. I really don't have many feelings about this book. I'm not even actually sure how it was published. We had cookie cutter, bland-ass characters, a SUPER predictable plot (yeah I guessed the 'twist' a quarter of the way in), and a 'smart' (read stupid ) MC.
Like seriously, everyone keeps going on about how speshul and smart she is, but she makes the most god damn awful decisions. And she is amazingly selfish! We see this relationship she has with her BFF, but it's all like 'she's so loyal and down to Earth' with zero character development from there, while then going 'I'm so selfish' and yes she freaking is! That's pretty much her entire personality!!! Like, what the WHAT??? How did this get on the shelves? And then we get to her name - seriously, PEARL as the MC's name? And sister Paradise and brother Shadow? I think I vomited a little. And oh my gosh I can see right now (well really I saw it from about halfway in) that even though she's not the Valentine, she's clearly still a member of the fae race of some kind, likely inherited from her mother. maybe she's half fae, maybe she's also a changeling? Who know? But more accurately, WHO CARES??!!
Anyway, moving on from our abysmal MC, we get a horrendous romance. Who picked where the romance was going from the blurb? If you didn't then maybe this book is for you, maybe you can handle the gag-worthy relationship- if it can even be called that. It was a pro-stalker romance is what it is, on both Pearl's ad Finn's sides. Oh, you're not answering my texts/calls/FB messages? Let me call your MUM to get to you and then visit your HOUSE! Ughhhhhhh.
And then we get to the worldbuilding. Oh wait, did I say world building? Silly me, why would I say that? There was NOTHING!!!!!!!! Where did the Finn/Pearl animosity come from to begin with? Why did people photograph the 4 Valentine babies to begin with? How has no one else noticed the things going wrong/mysterious people showing up/disappearing? What the heck did Dave actually have to do with anything? What was even the point of Helena - all she seemed to be there for was for a stupidly useless fight scene between paradise and shadow, and to throw a completely obviously fake red herring into the mix.
Then there's Finn's powers - I'm pretty damn sure his mum or dad would have noticed something. But then there's the blurb - it gave nearly everything away! As such, I stopped caring from very early on! Also, why was Pearl so cool with Cardy 'dying'? Like, she was meant to be in 'love' (read lust ) with him, but when he goes missing she pretty much doesn't care. Soooo either we have a FATAL flaw in her character, or very bad writing. Or, you know, how about both? Yeah, I feel like it's both. because honestly, this book was crap. Why did I finish it again? That's right, there was actually one good thing.
The one good thing : it was intriguing. yes, it actually did (somehow) manage to capture my interest about halfway through and I couldn't stop reading. That is the one and only reason I finished it. Apart from that, it would be polite to call it mediocre. Complete crap is more like it.
So, it clearly turns out I do actually have more feelings for this book than I thought! This ended up being a stupidly long rant, but hey, it was cathartic! I do however have to now round down my 2 star rating to a 1. I cannot in good faith recommend this book. MAYBE if I'd read it as a 15 year old girl with little YA behind my belt I could have enjoyed it, but with experience comes harsh reality. Valentine was rubbish.
Recommend: NO - stay away unless you are a 15 YO girl with little reading experience. Age: 14-16 Warnings: Some sexual innuendos and pashing, even some fantasies, but no sex and certainly nothing explicit.
This is a cute little fairy read. I think a gentle fun push into the fantasy/fairy genre for those that haven't ever read this type of book before. It is very YA, with loads of smarmy, lusty, high school style quips. With characters being on Facebook, up to date pop-culture references, etc (how will this work 5-10yrs down the track I wonder?)
I enjoyed picking up the book to read before bed each night, carrying off these characters into my dreams. The writing flows well off the pages. The story is easy to follow. You are not bombarded with too much Fantasy in one hit and the story gently builds into a 'who-dun-it'. With those 'slap -ya-forehead' moments where you yell at the MC Pearl - Stop what you are doing and think about your next move!!
We start with the story of 4 kids born on Valentines day of the same year and we then learn that we have the Seelie and the Unseelie searching for the Valentine, a fairy that was switched into the human world at birth. People go missing, friendships are forged, and lost and Relationships develop.
I've been in a bit of a reading slump so I was very excited when this proof landed on my desk last week. I read this in one day so I guess that explains how engaged I was in this story. Having just finished Elegy by Jane Abbott I think it is great that Australian authors are dealing with some paranormal/mythological elements in their writing. I also love a story that involves the Seelie (The Call by Peadar O'Guilin is fantastic!) and Unseelie and their wicked mannerisms and behaviours and it's great to see this being explored in YA. The MC was at times a little whiney and I wanted to find out more about her backstory with her parentage (although that is explained a little as it goes along) but she is also snarky and funny. I found there was a little bit of info dumping when Pearl does her internet research and one scene I was a little disappointed in . Overall though a great read that also ticks some diversity boxes.
OH MY GOSH I FREAKING FORGOT HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS BOOK! I mean I didn't forget that I loved the book, but I needed a refresher on this kick-ass story! I'm so glad I reread this and I can't freaking wait for Ironheart!
I NEED IT! NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
------ ORIGINAL REVIEW 20/1/17
NOTE: I was sent an Advanced Reader Copy of this book by Penguin Teen Australia. All thoughts and opinions I have for this book are 100% honest and entirely my own.
What can I say? That was a helluva ride! This is the first Urban Fantasy book I've ever read from an Australian Young Adult Author, and I'm pleased to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! I spent the entire day reading this book and I was completely drawn in from the start. At first, this book reads like a contemporary, as there is a good amount of pop culture references. As the story progresses, it gets darker, creepier, suspenseful and it has you on the edge of your seat.
PROs: - The Pacing! I'm very satisfied with how this novel was paced. It was not too slow and didn't drag out too much, yet it wasn't too fast-paced. I've noticed with a lot of books that I've recently read, the main plot point is introduced 20 pages in. While that is okay, I usually would prefer to get to know the characters and the setting first. This book did that. It developed what the reader needed to know about these characters until around 60 pages in -> That's when the main plot happened and the story started to take a dark turn - The Characters! I LOVE FINN! I can't help but love him! I also really enjoyed reading from Pearlie's perspective. - The Writing! It was very easy to get into and I found myself very engaged :) - The Balance of darkness and comic-relief! There were times I freaked out about what was going to happen to these characters, other times I was cracking up! This book was very well balanced and that is what I LOVE in Urban Fantasy!
CONs: - I felt like all four students who had birthdays on Valentine's Day to come together and instantly become the presidents and vice presidents of the school was kind of too coincidental and easy. I would have loved to see them be connect in a different way to make the story more interesting and slightly more shocking (at least when they find out they were born on Valentine's day)
Overall, I definitely recommend Valentine to be your next Aussie YA read! Definitely for fans or Holly Black and Cassandra Clare! I'm looking forward to a potential sequel!!
This was definitely a case of "right book, right time" for me. I'd meant to review something else, but it was clear from the first page that we weren't going to get along. Since I had a Monsterhearts game coming up, I thought I'd give Valentine a go instead. It turned out to be the perfect mood-setter.
But I think I was always going to love this book. As I've mentioned before, I was a huge fan of Holly Black's Tithe, and Valentine hits many of the same buttons. The book starts off with a strange event--a black horse mysteriously showing up at a party--and things get stranger around Pearl. If you like your faeries with teeth, this is definitely a book to check out. It makes use of some of the less commonly known or used pieces of faerie lore, such as elflocks, though it doesn't always play them straight.
Pearl isn't stupid and recognises something weird is going on, though she sometimes wavers in that belief. She's a relatable character in many ways, taking her responsibilities seriously and angsting over what other people think of her. She's brave and loyal, while also being afraid and, at times, hypocritical. She neglects her best friend but doesn't hesitate to put herself in danger for the people she cares about.
The book is told in first person and is lightly sprinkled with pop-culture references and text speak. This is not going to suit everyone. I thought it contributed to making Pearl's voice a strong one. The reference to the eternal conundrum of Sherlock vs Elementary made me smile. Facebook also plays a role in the plot as a way the characters keep in contact. Valentine embraces the modern era, rather than trying to work around it.
I also love a good enemies-to-lovers story. It's clear from the outset that Finn isn't as disdainful of Pearl as she is of him, though that doesn't prevent him from expressing anger and irritation towards her where it's warranted. Watching Pearl's opinion of him grow and improve was a delight.
Not everyone is going to like the ending, particularly since it deviates from certain genre expectations, but I found it a mature change. The story is also set in Australia, which results in some subtle cultural shifts.The common US stereotypes of jocks, nerds and goths are absent. Instead, there are some distinctly Australian elements, like school captains and Pearl's job as a lifeguard at the local pool.
Overall, I found Valentine a fresh and intelligent take on faerie YA urban fantasy. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.
I read this book knowing nothing about it, I didn't even read the blurb because I like to read blind - I want to discover things as the writer intended - for me, this is the ultimate reading experience. Valentine delivered! I laughed, cried, gasped, fell in love, held my breath and sat on the edge of my seat. I read late into the night because I couldn't put it down. The only good thing about finishing this book is knowing that another follows it. Valentine is the first book of a series and I can't wait to read the next. I highly recommend this book.
Things I Didn't Like: - Most people's personalities. - The cringey use of abbreviations, "WTF" "Vom" etc - Nothing made sense. At all. - Assuming things constantly? "Oh, no, I think someone died! It MUST have been [Insert character]" *has next to no evidence but spends next three chapters full of guilt*
Thing I Did Like: - The word "Seelie" - Good descriptions of attractive people. - Main character wasn't an ass.
This was loads of angst, over the top YA fun. Lots of interesting fae law, a paranormal scooby murder mystery and handsome dark haired and moody beaus. If you're a fan of Holly Black and want something with a little more smooch, then do try this one.
While @jodimcalister has ruined black birds, cats and horses for me, she makes up for it by supplying me with top notch snogging, heart warming family moments, a boss girl protagonist and a rip-snorting good time. Sink your teeth into Valentine!
4.25/5 (super specific I know but it wasn't a 4 and it wasn't a 4.5 sooo)
I LOVED this. I'm super fussy with fairy books and I'm so glad that I enjoyed this one.
Finally a book where the characters actually act their age; listening to current music, constantly on Facebook, and crushing on all of the cute boys. There were so many pop culture references and I loved it. And the writing actually sounded like the inner monologue of a 17 year old girl.
I also loved how realistic everything was, like if this actually happened in the real world it would happen like this. Not even just the magical stuff, the romances and friendships too. Nothing was fast tracked, nothing happened easily, the characters were just doing their best in such a horrible situation. It was just so refreshing to read an urban fantasy that portrayed perfectly what would happen if random everyday people got thrown into a magical world. Props to Jodi McAlister, I am super excited for the sequel!
Quite glad this didn't end with a cliff hanger so I don't feel obligated to read the next one. Things I liked included Disey and Shad and...that's about it. Things I didn't like was just about everything else. This book took so many leaps it got ridiculous. All of a sudden they're calling someone the Valentine. Im don't even know when it become a title. There were so many leaps in information, like suddenly Oh Hey We Know This Thing It Makes Total Sense. I don't give two shits about the oh-so-handsome Finn Blacklin. Don't even get me started on Pearl. That girl jumped to conclusions like a fucking Olympian, except for the one conclusion that you probably guessed right from the very start oh surprise surprise it's the right one. Even the writing I found to be piss-poor. It's kind of trash-genre writing, which I know some people love, but I was lost by the first acronym. FFS. WTF. OMG. STFU. Those plus the really long run on sentences where omg I'm being kissed this is amazing what a life wait what why is this happening I thought I was dying but hey let's kiss it out and describe everything that's supposed to be desirable about this moment without pausing for breath because I live in this moment now stop. I'm pretty bummed about how much I really did not like this, to be honest. I was so looking forward to it and Jodi is such a sweetie. I know several people who have liked it though so maybe it's just not for me.
Okay, so how did this author get into my head and manage to create a protagonist with such similar thought patterns to my own? She must have used some freaky seelie trick. Good thing my dreams aren't quite as raunchy as Pearl's. So an Australian setting, paranormal themes, down-to-earth main character - what's not to love? For people who have read , I expect you will adore Valentine. I devoured this book in less than a day. It was fun, fast-paced, just the right amount of sexy and has set me up to be one of the first in line to buy the next book. Sure, it wasn't deeply literary in the sense that I would struggle to write an essay on its themes - but that is exactly why I loved it. It was easy to read and easy to relate to (and, mate, Buffy refs) And easy to wish I was a part of that world. Hey Jodi? If you happen to need people for ARC reviews for Ironheart, I'm right here...just sayin' :D
Finally, I was able to read it until the end. The story was just so dragging it was almost a dnf and I don't even want to start with the characters. And...the writing. From my own opinion, it was like an amateur teenager writing a cliche story. *sigh* sorry not sorry
But, I really don't want a dnf with any of my book list this year eventhough it really is inevitable. I want every book that I will read to finish it and criticize it wholly. Anyway my thoughts regarding this book is that it could've been a lot of better because hello faeries?! Who doesn't like those kind of themes? I love faerie stories because they are exquisite and just wonderful stories of murder and trickery. Isn't that fun?
Now this book is waaaaaay different from the faerie stories I have read before that's why it is a bit of a disappointment and I already have a theory about the plot twist and wow, I was right. Shocker.
This book was a bit of cliche that's why I really didn't like it that much. The theme is really powerful though. The writing was just awful but it is bearable. I did not like any of the characters so no thoughts about them here except that...I hope the MC's personality should've been different. I hate to judge any character's personality because that' just how they goes but a bit fiercer and maybe a little less lusty because it was really annoying. Nothing much to praise about this book except that it is a story about faeries.
First of all, yay it’s an Aussie book!!! Secondly, this book was so gooooooooood. I read some reviews and to be honest, it sounded really cliche and a not that special book. But then I read and it is REALLY GOOD. At the start, there were some scenes that were no offense but really cringey. It took some time getting into it but after a while I finally was hooked. Alright character development. I think the author should have made Pearl more believably “charismatic”. I feel like she should be a lot more....idk like Fairylike??? One more other thing I liked about the book: I like how the author made her bald. I think there are so many books these days where the main character is so pretty and has such pretty hair. Her being bald and Finn still thinks she’s beautiful somehow makes it so much more special. ♡
And ps I think Mr Hunter is her dad just saying
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I love the book. It's fairies in the bush! no, not Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. For some reason they popped up in my mind whenever I think about bush fairies, even though they are not fairies.
Anyway, I found the main characters of Valentine fascinating some of the times and totally annoying at other times. The pacing is good and the dialogues are funny. I especially enjoy the process of weaponising vegemite. I would've liked to see how it worked.
We still don't know why they were looking for the Valentine. I mean he's supposed to be great and all that but... what happened to the human baby in faerieland? Why wait 17 years? What are they using the Valentine for? Will I develop irrational fear of black horses, birds and cats? ;)
I read it in a day. Valentine is fun, funny & fast-paced & Pearl is a compelling & distinctive protagonist of the smart-ass-teenager variety. There's lots of little easter eggs for fairy/folklore tragics and a very satisfying enemies-to-lovers romance with, all-in-all, enough threads tied off to be satisfying, and enough left dangling for me to be itching to pick the next one up.
I read this in 9 hours which I usually only ever do for romance novels or when Queen of Nothing released! Despite the juvenile 2009 writing style I was completely enamoured by the characters (Finn, I’ll just say it, yes Finn) and the plot - though being of the faeries - I enjoyed reading about the Fae from an ordinary human world point of view where all the dazzlement was offputting and genuine rather than the GORGEOUS BABES we’re all used to reading.
Valentine is unapologetic, teenage angst shaped as a non-fairytale fairytale.
The protagonist, Pearl, is honest and raw and both irritating and charming. Her strength is her depth of character, which is also her weakness as I can never tell if this is a crafted character or just incidental to the author's own self coming through (who is a sweetheart in person).
The plot is fairly straightforward and I was amused at the end when Pearl seemingly forgot she already suspected (even figured out) the 'reveal' of the antagonists. This is probably the greatest weakness of the novel as a whole. World-building isn't the most vivid and there is little to no subtext. Everything is very face value.
But it kind of works because the book takes pride in what it is and never stops plowing forward.
This is a fantasy for teenagers about teenagers with no attempt at trying to be some grandiose epic or intricate fabel.
It is what it is and, yes, I probably will read the next novel.
If anything, it's just nice to see this is Australian.
Ahead of Misrule coming out, I decided to re-read the series and it was like getting slapped in the face by a book that’s all ‘HEY REMEMBER HOW MUCH YOU LOVE ME, HEY! HEEEEY!’ Valentine is so supremely good, it should be compulsory for anyone with eyeballs to read it. It’s also incredibly frustrating given the state of genre in Australia, because I feel like if this book had come out in any other country literary bodies would be firing it into crowds with a shirt canon. All of that to say Valentine is Very Good.
It felt there was a stretch a few years ago where every second YA fantasy book had fairies involved, so initially I was intrigued to see how Valentine would be different. McAlister really plays with the traditional myths and legends, adapting them for a 'small town Australia' setting but remaining truthful to OG fairy tales - which were scary as shit. Seriously, the Seelie and Unseelie in Valentine are straight up creepy, vicious and proper villainous in a way that was very faithful to the origins of these myths. The stakes in this story are real and there are moments reading this when I whispered to myself 'whoa, we're really going there'. Even the 'good' fairies aren't good, the 'bad' fairies not black and white. There was an amazing use of classic fairy creatures like the water horse etc, mixed with modern supersitions and misinformation that give it a contemporary touch. It was also funny af, which isn't surprising at all if you've read any of McAlister's previous work or heard her speak.
Most of all, Valentine's biggest strength is the characters. I'm a big believer in the best fantasy having real world elements that feel hella grounded and realistic, so the fantastical elements stand out in sharp contrast. She did that wonderfully through a diverse cast of teen characters that never felt tokenistic and weren't cliches. These teens were messy, complex, full people who were passionate, confused, horny, happy, mischievous, scared, ambitious and all of the thousand different things you feel mixing up inside yourself when you're that age. The town felt real, Pearl's family structure felt REAL and for once that realism depicted something outside of the 'nuclear' family unit. Having grown up in one of those myself, I appreciated how authentic that felt.
Legitimately one of the best urban fantasy novels I have ever read and the kind of debut that makes you set down the book at the end and go 'fuck, I wish I wrote that'.
I would like to rate this 4.5 stars.. it was a really good and interesting read that creeped me out and had me purposely not read this at night lol this book is about 4 teenagers who happened to have all been born on Valentine's Day and one day, each of them start to go missing and evil cats are following the protagonist, Pearl, everywhere she goes. In trying to work out what on earth is going on, she forms the most unlikely alliance and those she trusted become the enemy.. The dialogue is quite funny and witty.. though sometimes I felt like hitting Pearl to make her focus on the task at hand and not go on a tangent about irrelevant things lol it was a cool read - special thanks to Penguin Teen Publishers for sending me an advance review copy in exchange for my honest review.. blog to come..