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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield

Title: Hanging by a Thread
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Genre: YA Mystery
Publisher: Delacorte BFYR
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“The quaint little beach town of Winston, California, may be full of wholesome townsfolk, picturesque beaches, and laid back charm, but Clare Knight is about to uncover something underneath its thriving demeanor. Someone is hiding something, and it’s as gruesome as the townsfolk, and their stately homes, are stunning. Amanda Stavros, fellow classmate and resident of Winston, is gone and there’s no sign of her ever coming back. Everyone says she was taken and murdered, but where’s the evidence? Why isn’t there a single ounce of proof? And why is everyone okay with this, except for Clare?
Luckily—or as it’s been turning out, unluckily—Clare possesses a gift, an ability to see visions from the clothes she works with. And since her clothes come solely from the townsfolk, Clare has become privy to some startling and disturbing memories of these townspeople. Will she uncover who killed Amanda Stavros? Or is she just moving herself up in line to be the next victim of Winston?”
After couple of years of living in San Francisco Clare and her mother have moved back to their hometown, Winston, CA.
With the help of her childhood friend, Rachel, Clare is using the summer to meet new friends and trying to fit in before school starts.
Rachel and Clare have a business together; Clare designs and manufactures clothes using vintage items and old pieces bought in garage sales and flea markets and Rachel using her status as the “in” girl in town sells them to friends and neighbors.
What many people don’t know about Clare is that she has inherited from her grandmother the “gift” of psychometry, clothes and pieces of fabric “talk” to her. While touching them she can feel and experience strong emotions or see glimpses of important events that happened to the owner while she/he was wearing it.
Everything is going well for Clare until the day she buys a parcel of clothes than includes a torn and dirty designer jean jacket. After touching it Clare experienced the last moments of Amanda Stavros, the girl that disappeared a year before in Winston, the one the town think was the second victim of what they called the fourth of July serial killer. The first victim was a young kid called Dillon Granger.
Now Clare has two options, forget about what she saw or try to investigate what was what really happened to Amanda? Whatever she decides to do she must do it while trying to fit it, pretend to be normal and trying not to fall for Jack, the town’s bad boy with a reputation and a past that support the notoriety.

I loved Sophie Littlefield Afterlife Series and really wanted to love this, her latest book, Hanging by a Thread, but I couldn’t. Don’t take me wrong, I liked it, not as much as I was expecting to like it but I did, but, yes, there is a “but” in here… I had some problems with it. My main issue was that is was too descriptive about Clare’s craft, to the point that it became tedious and I had to skim over the parts when stitches and patterns were mention in the book.

I liked Clare, it was easy to connect with her; she felt real and acted according to her age. I can only speculate how difficult is must be to have her gift and make the decisions she made. Sometimes I didn’t like how she behave with her mom and her grandmother, but that was more my adult perspective than anything else, her behavior was according to her age without being childish or spoiled. Her actions and troubles were those of a teenager girl.

Jack is a character we don’t know much about until the end, he is kind of mysterious; he has a bad image and does nothing to change it. You need to know him better to realize that behind the bad boy façade there is a broken boy, one that has suffered a lot and also cares and feels deeply.

Their insta-attaction was a bit too much, on the beginning there was nothing to say why they liked each other, just one conversation about nothing in particular and they are crazy about each other. I would have preferred if it wouldn't have been an insta-attraction but something more realistic, something that took time and trust to build. After they spend more time together it was easy to see there was a connection, but is was a bit too late.

The secondary characters are all different but they all provided something valuable to the story. The best friend, Rachel, with the “in” status in society, who in reality is hiding many secrets and is almost pretending to be somebody she isn’t.
The hard working mother that has forgotten about who she was and lives only to work and to provide for her daughter and now is a shade of her old self.
The grandmother who doesn’t care what other people think of her but who is also hiding a secret that breaks her heart and doesn’t let her be happy.

Even though from early on I guessed the mystery behind the disappearances I can honestly say that it was well done and had me doubting my guess a little bit towards the end.
As with previous books of Mrs. Littlefield the writing is fluid, the plot is well paced, the character are strong and well developed. There is no doubt that she is a talented writer.
I recommend Hanging by a Thread to YA readers, especially if they are into fashion.

My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws

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