Audience: Older Teens
The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.
For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.
With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.
This book was fantastic. I read it really quickly. It was like a mystery, but she wasn't actively investigating or anything. Also, she sees the ghost of her dead friend who died from anorexia. I think the book handled that subject well. Overall, it had an air of Veronica Mars about it. Before I started it, I thought I was going to read a horror book, but it was horrifying in a suspenseful sort of way... Honestly sort of like a Hitchcock movie. (I love his movies, so I am VERY careful when using that comparison, I swear!)
The one thing I didn't really get was the cover. One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was because of the awesome cover. After reading it, the cover is still awesome, but it doesn't seem to quite fit the story. For example, it looks cold, but the story takes place during a heat wave in summer (reminded me of Rear Window.) I liked the heat wave, because I think it made the murders seem even more chilling. I get the heart and lace because the killer left Valentines at the scene of the crime, and he killed girls, so I get the silhouette, but all of it combined makes it seem like it takes place in an older time or something. Still fabulous, though.
I am very proud to say that I figured out half of the mystery about 15 or so pages before the main character did! I don't like it when the culprit doesn't seem realistic, but I don't like it when you can tell who it is from page 30 either. So this was PERFECT! It had a bit of a surprise and danger, too.
Best of all, there was a good girl/bad boy storyline. Who doesn't love that? Classic. It's too bad there were all those murders distracting the couple. It could have been way more romantic without all the blood and ghosts, but then I suppose the most interesting part of the story would be gone. Sigh. You can't have it all, I guess.
Enjoy this book!