Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Friday, June 7, 2013

Plot Summary:
It's been six months since Hannah's best friend, Lillian, died. For Hannah, losing Lillian was like losing a part of herself since they spent every moment together making fabulous outfits and hanging out with Carmen, Angelie, and Jessica. Life was good for the both of them until Lillian stopped eating. Sadly, Lillian suffered from Anorexia, which led to her untimely death. Although Carmen, Angelie, and Jessica were able to move on with their lives, Hannah cannot because the ghost of Lillian is now haunting her. Not only is Lillian "back from the dead," but there is a serial killer loose in the quiet city of Ludlow, which happens to be the one thing that Lillian has been obsessing over after discovering the crime scene photos that the Ludlow Police brought into her cousin's photo shop. In fact, Lillian's grim devotion to these unsolved murders forces Hannah to sneak into her room and fetch a scrapbook that has newspaper clippings of cold cases that are very similar to the current murders. What's even more odd is that Hannah is starting to notice Finn, who is the town bad boy and just as mysterious as the current string of murders. With the town on lock down, parents are ordering their kids and teens to be escorted everywhere, which gives Hannah the perfect opportunity to get to know the boy, whom Lillian despises, that made her cry only a few years ago. Despite the sudden turn of events, the murders are continuing and there is one link that connects them all: a paper valentine. The ending is to die for.
 
Critical Evaluation:
Brenna Yovanoff has written something I didn't expect at all and I really liked it. Not only does the reader feel like they are enveloped in a "murder mystery" atmosphere, they are also reading about very real issues that effect teens such as eating disorders, bullying, overprotective parents, abuse, and depression. By weaving these elements into the story, readers are very sympathetic to Hannah's struggles and, to an extent, Lillian's troubles as well. I can honestly say that I found Lillian to be selfish, judgmental, and cruel, but, when Hannah starts asking the questions that haven't been asked, we start to realize just how insecure, lonely, and scared Lillian is. Furthermore, we learn why Lillian decided to starve herself to death because it was the only ting, in her life, that she could control. Is this the reason why she hasn't been able to move on? More than likely. Just like the television show, Criminal Minds, Hannah and Lillian are looking at the behavior of the killer and are learning that he is not just some typical criminal--but a serial killer who enjoys what he does.Readers will never guess who the Valentine Killer is and, in the final showdown, we see a Hannah that has been hidden for too long and, when let lose, is unstoppable.

Information about the Author:
According to her website:
I’m good at soccer, violent video games, and making very flaky pie pastry.
I’m bad at dancing, making decisions, and inspiring confidence as an authority figure. I suspect this is because I am short, and also terrible at sounding as though I have any idea what I’m talking about.
I was homeschooled until I was fifteen, which has probably affected my world view in ways I can’t fathom.
Also, I really, really like parentheses. (Really.)
On this site, you’ll find information about my books, answers to questions, and links to things I like. If you want to know more, you can check out my blog, where I frequently talk about zombies, high school, and dessert.

Genre:
Teen Horror, Teen Mysteries

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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