From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–Hannah Wagnor is haunted by the ghost of her dead best friend, Lillian. As the summer temperatures heat up, so does Hannah's love life. Hannah starts dating local bad boy Finny Boone, but something feels off about him. When girls start showing up dead, Hannah worries that the murderer might be Finny or someone he knows. Using her Quality Photo job to sneak a peek at the crime scene photos her boss develops, she discovers that each picture features a girl who has been hit over the head holding a paper valentine in her hand and kids' toys spread all around the murder scene. Hannah realizes that the deaths are somehow linked to an older murder of a classmate. With the help of the murdered girls' ghosts, she and Lillian try to solve the case, but the killer is closing in and doesn't want to be discovered. Can Hannah figure out who the murderer is before she becomes another victim? Caitlin Prennace's narration of Yovanoff's tale (Razorbill, 2013) is engaging. Although the characters could have been better developed, their personalities are brought to life through the narrator's unique voices and intonations. The plot has a few holes in it and the murderer lacks motive, but the narrator's smooth, expressive transitions will easily draw in listeners. Fans of mysteries peppered with romance will enjoy this audiobook.–Kira Moody, Whitmore Public Library, Salt Lake City, UTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Yovanoff (The Replacement, 2010, and The Space Between, 2011) returns with another tale barbed around the edges by the profane and the grotesque. It’s been six months since Hannah’s best friend, Lillian, died from an eating disorder, a fact Hannah can’t forget because Lillian is haunting her, rather languorously, sighing over Hannah’s clothing choices and criticizing her taste in boys. This edgy supernatural relationship intensifies with the arrival of the Valentine Killer, a child murderer who dresses up his or her victims with toys and paper valentines. Lillian is able to conjure the voice of one of the deceased, who supplies the girls with a clue, and soon the unlikely investigative duo is hunting down the criminal—who may or may not be Finny, the hunky delinquent who’s got Hannah feeling “squishy.” The killer-explains-all conclusion is pat, but everything else goes gangbusters, with Yovanoff’s patent-pending blend of weak-kneed ennui and crackling nastiness turning pages faster than ever. Thrills, romance, gore—what’s not to like? Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus