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Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield
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Hanging by a Thread

by Sophie Littlefield

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3 ½ Stars ( )
  BookaholicCat | Mar 4, 2015 |
Teenage hormones meets murder mystery solved by clairvoyant clothier.

Hanging by a Thread was a super quick enjoyable read. It's the summer before Clare's junior year in high school and she and her mother just moved back to their home town because they can't afford to live in San Francisco any longer. There is something special about the women in Clare's family. They have a hereditary trait of clairvoyance passed down where they can see misdeeds people have done by touching the piece of clothing that person was wearing at the time. Clare has this ability but for the most part tries to ignore it.

I thought the choice of psychic ability was an interesting one. It gave the possibility for good tidbits of information and fit perfectly with the mystery solving aspect of the story.

Upon her return to her hometown, Clare has rekindled a childhood friendship with Rachel who is one of the popular girls. Rachel is helping Clare sell the items she creates from vintage clothing.

Imagine some of the crazy visions she must have had since all of the materials she world with are used.

Her summer seems to be going great until Clare meets and starts to fall for bad boy Jack, as well as finding a jacket that belonged to a young girl that is believed to have been murdered last year. Coincidentally, the missing girl Amanda used to be Jack's girlfriend. The jacket sends Clare into a fit of visions and she feels compelled to find out all she can.

The plot of Hanging by a Thread was simple and I liked it that way. There were a few purposeful misleads by the author that really worked. She did a great job of depicting teenagers and their crazy antics. The things they did as well as their behavior really rang true to me.

I also liked that she was able to include some family drama and teenage romance without these things overwhelming the main murder mystery plot of the story. I would definitely recommended Hanging by a Thread to my teenage kid sister. ( )
  Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
NOTE: I received this title from Netgalley to review.

I just finished reading the book, and thought I should go ahead and write the review right away, while the story and characters are still fresh in my mind.

So, here's what I have to say: The story was original, as in I haven't read anything like it before. It was a unique concept, where the heroine had this special ability to read people's thoughts, memories etc. by simply touching their clothes. I thought that was pretty cool skill, though I confess it could turn cumbersome.

Anyway, I really liked the story, because it wasn't at all obvious. I mean, I had no idea what was going on until the very last moment. I also liked that it wasn't all that long, and it was a quick read.

What I didn't like was a couple of things:

1. This is a YA novel, and of course the topic of sex was not excluded. But the way it was written, like the main heroine (Clare) didn't at all care who her first time was with...... well, let me just say that I wouldn't want my daughter read such a book.

2. There were a bunch of times when the inner narration of Clare was so spontaneous and erratic, I had to wonder if certain scenes weren't just added to the book after it was finished. They sure sounded like patches stitched over a garment.

3. The closeness between Clare and Jack developed so fast, it seemed a bit overdone. I mean, there was time for their feelings to actually develop. Instead, they were just there for no reason.

Here's a bit about the characters:

*Clare is this sweet girl, who has a great talent with designing clothes. I honestly thing her style was weird, but hey, we all have our bugs. Sometimes she went way off topic in her head. Her reasoning sounded a bit naive at times, but I liked it that she didn't give up on figuring out the town's mystery.

*Jack, a.k.a. Mr. Bad Boy wasn't given time to actually develop as a character. Yeah, we see his angry side and his super sweet side, but umm.. it wasn't enough for me. I mean, Clare pretty much threw herself at him... but ... why?? Whatever reason did she have to do so? Yeah, he was cute and mysterious and all, but he was still a stranger.

*Rachel, Clare's best friend, was supposed to be this super responsible girl, that everyone loved and looked up to. But I didn't see anything responsible about her. She wasn't sweet, or reasonable. I mean, she got in lots of trouble for partying, and her membership in this very prestigious club depended on her good reputation, and still she didn't miss a party. She didn't miss getting drunk beyond any reason. I can say that I really didn't get to like her.

Anyway, I think that's all I have to say about this book. If you're curious about the story - go ahead and read it, I'm sure it won't disappoint. But if you're looking for a great book with extra complicated characters.. I'd recommend you go look somewhere else. ( )
  VanyaDrum | Jan 26, 2014 |
This was really a 2.5 but I rounded up because it reminds me of the Christopher Pike novels I loved in junior high.

Pros:
* Interesting paranormal angle
* Quirky grandma

Cons:
* Heavy use of brand names, paired with random decision to make up a brand called "Earl Dobby."
* Ending escalates quickly.
* Like, really quickly.

I was honestly surprised to find out that this novel was from an established author, though this was her first foray into YA. This really read like a Christopher Pike or Lois Duncan novel. It was all the plot points and turns you recognized. It was an entertaining read, though the writing was soft in places. ( )
  ErikaWasTaken | Sep 22, 2013 |
BY A THREAD is a grim little thing, for all that it’s got the usual trappings of a YA hit: quirky girl moves to new town, meets cute boy, solves murder while struggling to fit in.

Sounds like something you’ve read before, maybe? When I add that the cute boy, Jack, has a violent temper and a checkered past, does that sound familiar? I usually like bad boys, and Jack might not be so awful, but Clare’s attraction to him? Wow. Unhealthy. He runs hot and cold, alternately making passes and scoffing at her, but every rude comment makes Clare pant harder. She gets a vision of him vandalizing someone’s house and it turns her on. And she makes constant, horrible excuses for her own feelings: “Despite the powerful rage I’d sensed in his memories, I didn’t believe it could ever be directed at me.” Really? She’s known him a day and she’s already so sure? Poor fool.

As it turns out, Jack is one of the nicer characters in the book. Everyone here is so messed up, every relationship strained and unhappy. Clare has a miserable relationship with her uptight, controlling mother. She has a miserable relationship with her popular, unstable friend Rachel. She’s ashamed of her hippie grandmother, gobbling up her Nana’s affection while trying hard never to be seen with her in public.

It occurred to me, more than once, that maybe the problem was Clare. She’s got such a sour, unflattering view of the world. But as events unfurl and Clare uses her talent to dig into the secrets her friends and family have been keeping it becomes clear that Clare’s attitude is entirely justified. There’s a sordid tale in every garment, unraveling years of pent-up misery.

The mystery here is very good. The book opens with the central question – two years in a row, a local kid died mysteriously on July 4 – and with the holiday rolling around again, people are wondering who killed those kids, fearing a serial killer who will strike again. Clare finds a jacket that belongs to one of the victims and feels called to solve the case. The clues are neatly laid out, and following them leads to a plausible, chilling conclusion.

To give credit where credit is due, once I picked up BY A THREAD I could not put it down. It sucked me in. I had to find out if Clare would fall in line with Rachel’s popular-girl clique or find her own way, and what would happen with her and jerky Jack. I wanted to find out what happened to the dead kids. So I kept turning that pages, even after I’d come to the conclusion that I didn’t like any of these characters and didn’t want to spend any more time with them.

So three stars for a well-written book by an author who knows her craft. I’d read another book by her, but I wouldn’t pick it at random. I’d wait until the reviews come out and find one with more sympathetic characters. If such a thing exists.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
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When a third person in three years goes missing, presumed dead, July Fourth weekend in Winston, California, sixteen-year-old budding fashion designer Clare Knight uses her gift of seeing visions of people's pasts while touching their clothing to seek the truth, at risk of her own life.… (more)

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