Valentine series by Jodi McAlister
Penguin Teen Australia
Valentine book 1. 2017. ISBN 9780143574163
Ironheart book 2. 2018. ISBN 9780143574170
(Age 14+) Recommended. Themes: Paranormal, Fairies, Murder, Diversity. Four teens all born on Valentine's Day, begin to get into trouble. Pearl Linford is one of them and so is Finn Blacklin, the boy she has disliked all her life. It seems the Seelie believe that one of them is the Valentine a changeling swapped at birth with a fairy, and they want that person back in Fairyland. And the Unseelie are determined that is not going to happen. Murder and mayhem result as both the Seelie and Unseelie hunt the four teens, using humans as their foils and magic as their weapon.
Jodie McAlister has written a smart, fast paced paranormal that fans of Holly Black will enjoy. There is plenty of action as Pearl aided with the gorgeous Finn try to work out what is happening and just who of the four is the Valentine. The pair also have to come to grips with a growing attraction, amid many funny spats and witty dialogue which will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy sarcasm and humour to lighten the often scary moments when the Unseelie wreak havoc on their unsuspecting victims.
Pearl is a gutsy heroine who is determined that she won't rely on a Prince Charming to come to her rescue, rather she will do the rescuing herself. She writes her own music and is haunted by a Seelie tune that she has heard. Her siblings Shad and Disey are terrific characters and readers will fall in love with Cardy, a boy who works hard for his people. Diversity of characters is a theme but it is not laboured and threads naturally through the stories.
The first two books in the series are engrossing and easy to read because of the exciting plot and character development. The world building is realistic and it was not difficult to imagine the chaos that the fairies bring to their school and homes.
The books are best read in order with Valentine first as Ironheart flows on from the action there. Fans will be eagerly waiting for the next in the trilogy, with their appetites whetted by the cliff-hanger at the end of Ironheart.