Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just a Thread Connects Us

Expected Publication: September 11th, 2012
Hanging By A Thread (Banished # 3)
By: Sophie Littlefield
Random House Children's Books
ISBN-13: 9780385741040

Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?


   Clare has just moved back to Winston, California with her Mom following the economic crisis.  Her family has a long, sordid history with Winston beginning with her Great-Grandmother Alma's murder in her seamstress shop.  Since then, every other generation a woman in Clare's family is born with the gift to see other people's emotions and past deeds by touching their clothing.  Clare and her Nana both have the gift, but her practical Mom prefers to pretend that it doesn't exist.  For the last two years, someone has died on the Fourth of July in Winston and the town's panic is rising as the day draws near, anticipating a third tragedy.  Clare finds a second-hand jacket that belonged to Amanda Stavros, the girl who went missing last year.  The feelings that she gets from it are ugly and terrified.  Clare knows that something bad has happened to Amanda and she was probably murdered.  There is no way to prove it until she finds evidence though, so Clare begins to investigate what really happened last year, starting with Amanda's juvenile-delinquent boyfriend, Jack, who everyone thinks is behind her disappearance.  However, as the suspects pile up and her attraction to Jack grows, will Clare be able to separate fact from fiction and solve the mystery?  Or will she be the killer's next victim?  I might be one of the few people who didn't find all of the clothing talk off-putting.  Clare designs and sells clothing using new and vintage pieces that she fuses together.  Yes, the author used A LOT of mostly repetitive description.  But that didn't bother me, because clothing is an important element of Clare's ability.  I loved that the psychometry was clothing related.  It was interesting and I'd never seen it done before.  Clare was an independent, strong girl who had a goal in life.  The relationship with her Mom was realisitc.  In some YAs the parents are unrealistically distant or close to/from their kids.  In this on there was balance.  They had their differences and Clare is a lot closer to her Nana, who shares her ability.  My main complaint is the slow speed and overall bad plot pacing technique used.  The story all happened in the last third of the book.  It was a pretty disjointed mystery and while I enjoyed Clare, I wasn't such a fan of her stubborn antics and her nonsensical relationship with Jack, who for all she knows might be a killer.  She's attracted to him despite that fact which turned me off.  The ending just seemed rather anticlimactic comapred to the way the mystery was built up throughout the novel.  A fun book, but not the best I've ever read; I won't be revisiting it anytime soon, if ever.

VERDICT:  3/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication is September 11th, 2012.*

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