Hanging By a Thread, by Sophie Littlefield

Sophie Littlefield's novel Hanging By a Thread bills itself as a murder mystery, but the lion's share of the story centers around the heroine's interest in re-purposing vintage clothing. The end result still boasts its fair share of action and violence, but the blood-splattered cover is a wee bit misleading.

After several years away, high school student Clare Knight has moved back to Winston, California. Winston looks like an idyllic beach town, but the locals are haunted by a pair of presumably connected mysteries. Two years earlier, a small boy was killed during the local July 4th celebration. A year later, a teenage girl disappeared. Clare has no connection to either child, but she has inherited her family's uncanny gift: when she touches a piece of old clothing, she occasionally catches a glimpse of the life of the person who wore it. After buying a used denim jacket from a junk dealer, Clare "sees" what she suspects are the last moments of the missing girl—but since that is hardly the kind of evidence one can hand over to the police, she decides to do some investigating of her own.

Hanging By a Thread has two major things going for it: Clare's interest in artistically altering vintage clothing (which she then sells, hoping to use the profits to pay for design school), and her loving but troubled relationship with her perpetually-stressed mother and free-spirited grandmother. Don't get me wrong, Littlefield does a perfectly competent job of describing glamorous beach parties, mysterious dangers, supernatural powers, and smoldering teenage boys, but those are a dime a dozen in YA literature. It's her novel's more mundane elements—Clare's hard work and creativity, her struggle to understand her family's problems—that make Hanging By a Thread so much fun.

Review based on a publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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