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Hanging by a Thread

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  518 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
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 med ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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September 2012 YA Fiction
26th out of 111 books — 88 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,430)
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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
2.5 stars.
Well, this was boring educational.

In 1932 in Winston, Clare’s great grandmother Alma was a newlywed about to have her first baby. She was a seamstress working on a wedding dress for a young girl when the girl’s fiancé, crazed by jealousy, came into her shop and shot them both. Alma lost her life because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but not before she gave birth to her daughter. As the baby grew, it became clear that she acquired a unique gift through the tragic circum
"Hanging by a Thread" is actually a cool title for Sophie Littlefield's story revolving around a young woman who can read intentions and events via articles of clothing and ends up pursuing "threads" in a murder mystery going around her hometown, but it's a downer when you realize that everything about this story is, ironically, threadbare. The mystery, the characterization, the romance - almost everything about it just never measures up to the potential that the premise lends, and I felt comple ...more
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
I will admit that this is the first book I have read by Sophie Littlefield and it is also my understanding that this is her first YA book.

I saw some of the low reviews on this before reading it but really wanted to come into it without any prejudices whatsoever.

However, sadly I am going to have to agree with some of the lower rating reviews.

While the author had a brilliant idea for this book, a girl who comes from a long line of seamstresses and a rocky history gets gifted with the ability to s
Sep 03, 2012 Shelley rated it liked it
*Genre* YA Mystery
*Rating* 3.0 <- Note: Just because I give a book 3 stars, doesn't mean I didn't like it!


“Hanging by the Thread” is a mystery novel that focuses on the life of 16 year old Clare Knight. Clare is a person who loves to make her own clothing. In fact, she and her friend Rachel run a booth called “NewToYou” where she sells her latest creations in hopes of going to fashion college when she graduates from High School. She lives in the small town of Winston, California (popu
Apr 10, 2012 KWinks rated it really liked it
I have read Littlefield before, and especially liked Banished. Now, as I am learning to sew myself the premise of Hanging By A Thread really appealed to me. Here is what's up: overall there are several stories going on here and the least interesting is the mystery. In some ways, it reminded me of a Scooby Doo episode. The "bad guys" spill their guts the second someone looks at them suspiciously. In fact, there is too much spilling going on here. People barely know or remember Clare, but within s ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Suzanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-read
Clare and her mom have just moved back to her hometown of Winston having left it six years previous. But while she's been gone, the town has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. On the previous two Independence weekends, there have been incidences involving children. The first year, a little boy was murdered, the following year, a girl went missing on the same day. There's talk of a serial killer. Tourism has suffered. Now all the adults are worrying about the kids this holiday weekend an ...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
2/5 stars

Hanging by the Thread tried to have a somewhat unique concept. The main character Clare is sorta a physic detective. Only she doesn't get her visions of the future, she gets visions of the past...from vintage clothing. For me, this concept didn't work. There's a whole story about how it was passed down in her family because a dress-making ancestor was murdered. But to me, getting flashes when you touch someone's t-shirt but not when you touch the person, just seems odd.

Of course Clare l
Apr 30, 2012 Melodie rated it it was ok
I'm always excited to read YA mysteries - it's my own genre and one I hope to see grow exponentially in the next few years.

Littlefield's debut focuses on Clare, a girl who's just returned to her mother's hometown after several years in the big city. Clare can 'see' pasts when she touches clothing, a gift which soon sends her on a quest to discover what really killed a girl whose jacket she bought as scrap. Clare is a vintage clothing designer (very cool!) and she's always ripping stuff up to mak
Mar 19, 2012 Isamlq rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-galley
one of my favorite movies is of that teeny tiny boy confessing at just above a whisper of “I see dead people.” the protag in this one goes through something similar. hints are dropped at the beginning, but never really stated outright until after the yawn inducing laying of groundwork, where she describes in detail where she is, what she does and how she does it.

now, what made clare special anyway? (aside from her re-purposing old clothes, that is) well, her special-ness links to her maybe conf
Book Review originally published here:

An interesting, original topic, but unfortunately entirely screwed up by the way too long narrative. The characters and plot don’t live up to the potential of the premise either. Clare is a pencil-thin character, with the personality of a cardboard figure. The plot takes too long to pick up – I went through half of the book, before I even got the feeling there was some plot to speak of. Not recommended.
Clare has a gift; she can ‘see’ events when she touches a piece of clothing, but her gift has never sought her out as much as it has this summer.

Clare and her mother move back to the town where they used to live. Things have really changed; most notably there have been two murders in two years. The victims seem totally random and the town seems to be holding its breath as the anniversaries of the disappearances comes closer.

When Clare comes across the jacket of one of the victims she gets a vi
Something about Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield drew me like a magnet. It was probably partially because it takes place on California’s beautiful Central coast but there was also something about the concept that aroused my curiosity. Maybe it was that the central character is very creative, or maybe I’m just a sucker for stories about teens overcoming adversity. If you like YA mysteries with a touch of the paranormal, this one might draw you in as well. Read the rest of my review at ht ...more
Jun 30, 2016 April rated it liked it
I enjoyed Hanging by a Thread, but I did get a little frustrated with it. The blurb sounds super interesting, and almost supernatural (regarding the disappearance of people around the 4th of July, as well as Clare's gift of being able to see history/memories when touching old clothing). However, while the book was interesting, it didn't live up to my expectations.

* interesting plot idea
* Clare's gift/ability

* way too short of a book/very fast read
* IMO, plot wasn't carried out as in de
Isabelle Zillwood
Mar 24, 2015 Isabelle Zillwood rated it really liked it
Isabelle Zillwood
Ms. Peyman
English 1- C
19 March 2015
Book Review
Suspense, mystery, and danger are all major elements in the book, Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield. Clare, a girl who is moving back with her mom to her hometown, Winston, California, notices something very different about her old hometown. Major themes of this book such as stay out of danger, help develop the book and show abundance about Clare’s personality. The plot of the book was very strong because of the elements of m
Aug 12, 2014 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, youth
Sophie Littlefield usually writes great books for adults or teens, like "A Bad Day for Sorry" or "Banished." So I picked this up when I was shelving in YA (young adults) and ran across it. It grabbed my attention from the start, and I read it in an evening. It really rates better than a 3, but is not quite a 4.

The premise of a teen (Clare) moving back to her hometown at 16 is always an interesting one. The fact that she has a special ability makes it more difficult since it makes her feel more
Hanging by a Thread was definitely a unique read: a typical small town murder with superpowers involved? Count me in! I was satisfied by the ending and was never bored by the mystery and plot. I was disappointed, however, by Clare herself. She was fresh and interesting, but also seemed extremely petty at certain points. The desire to have a boyfriend and loose her virginity (yikes! Don’t worry, her wish isn’t granted) sometimes (most of the time) overpowers her common sense. When she meets Jack ...more
Apr 07, 2016 June rated it it was ok
I didn't realize this was an YA book until I noticed the narrator was a 16 year old girl. This is not really my genre; the writing is so simple and unsophisticated it is not my cuppa!

Oh the angst of the teen years, raging hormones, "should I or shouldn't I do IT?", drunken parties, drugs, trying to fit in with peers, lying to parents, etc. Who would want to live through that again?

For those who like this type of book, there is a simple mystery and sort of likeable characters. It was okay, ther
Jan 08, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it
Okay, where do I start with this book ?
First of all, it's not at all what I was expecting but I liked it anyway.
I find it really hard to put Hanging by a thread to a specific genre. It fits contemporary as well as paranormal. To me, it feels more like a contemporary novel.

I ought to warn you that it is slow paced and if you don't like fashion, well, you're screwed! I have a diploma in fashion design, which might explain why I could easily related to everything Clare (the protagonist) did
Mar 18, 2012 Marsha rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Young Adults

Besides being an avid reader, I am also a quilting addict; so, the concept of a paranormal story line involving fabric and sewing was utterly intriguing. “Hanging by a Thread” is a story about a junior in high school, Clare who moves back to Winston, California with her mother after the economy goes bad. What is so special about that? Well, Clare has the unique ability to see glimpses of people’s negative actions when she touches their clothing. This is a gift/curse that was passed down to her f
Paula  Phillips
Jul 08, 2012 Paula Phillips rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tina (yAdultReview)
Originally published at Nose in a Book.

I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would. I like fashion, but fashion to me is more like Forever 21 and Macy’s as opposed to sewing machines and thrift stores. Clare was interesting and so was her power, even though I couldn’t remember her name for the first third of the novel. The mystery was really engaging and I found myself sucked right into this story. I like a popular girl with a secret, and I like a female protag with female friends. I gues
Casse NaRome
Oct 17, 2012 Casse NaRome rated it liked it
I was anxious to read this book because lately I have ventured out of my usual reading box. The premise was something different than most YA.

Clare had a gift for fashion and the fabric sometimes told her things. Yes, it sounds silly but that was actually interesting. Clare and her stick in the mud mother move back to their small town that is going through a serial killer scare. That was interesting. Clare starts a business with her best friend. Rachel is annoying and insist on calling Clare a n
Apr 01, 2012 Chanelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review
This had a great premise. In fact, I think the premise was my favourite part of the novel. When something terrible happens to Clare's great grandmother, she passes on a gift to her family allowing them to touch people's clothes and see the sins they committed while wearing them. It's a gift and a curse for budding designer Clare. And when she moves back to the town she grew up in, a town destroyed by the deaths of two kids in as many years, there's more sins Clare discovers than she ever thinks ...more
Dec 19, 2012 Kris rated it really liked it
Clare is a unique character with a flair for resdesigning vintage clothing. She also has a gift for looking into people's pasts when she touches a piece of their clothing. She doesn't have control over when or where the visions take place, only sometimes the visions are so powerful that they compel her to take action. Upon returning to Winston, Clare finds herself pulled into a murder mystery closer to home than she would have thought possible.

As a heroine, Clare doesn't stand out much other tha
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Maternal relationships throughout the generations can withstand dangerous challenges in this paranormal read.

Opening Sentence: They say our house is cursed, and maybe it’s true.

The Review:

In the third book of the Banished series, Sophie Littlefield’s Hanging by a Thread changes momentum, allowing Clare to voice the story. Murder and mystery graces the pages, presenting the reader with a thrilling read for the paranormal genre. A mother’s lov
Review posted on Dark Faerie Tales.

In the third book of the Banished series, Sophie Littlefield’s Hanging by a Thread changes momentum, allowing Clare to voice the story. Murder and mystery graces the pages, presenting the reader with a thrilling read for the paranormal genre. A mother’s love extends through generations, and Hanging by a Thread reiterates that very well.

For many generations, a gift has been passed throughout family members. Aside from a gift, came a curse. Set in the 1920s, Clar
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

I’m accustomed to powerful, grab-you-by-the-heart-and-never-let-go stories from Sophie Littlefield. The kind that resonate for weeks and weeks after reading. Both the Banished and especially the Aftertime series rank among some of my favorite books ever. So to say that I had high expectations for HANGING BY A THREAD, her new standalone about a girl who gets psychic visions from clothing, is putting it mildly.

HANGING BY A THREAD is a very different sort
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
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 year ...more
Oct 14, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Ever since I saw the cover of this book, I was really excited to read it. There's something haunting yet so pretty about it that I was intrigued to find out what this book had to offer. And this one had quite a lot!

Clare and her mom have moved back to the town Clare had lived in as a kid, but it's far from the quant little place it used to be. Many years and two missing people later, Clare isn't sure how deep the secrets of this town have gone since she'd left. She may find out the answer much s
Amy Fournier
Sep 11, 2012 Amy Fournier rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
I love a good mystery and I totally love this cover. It was interesting to follow Clare through the story and discover what really happened and who did it, but I figured it all out rather quickly. Not all of it, but a lot of it. I can see how the mystery is woven together though and it was a good story. I liked how there was a slight supernatural element added in too, but it was never really explained except that it goes back a few generations. (Unless I missed it somewhere, but I don't think th ...more
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Sophie's first novel, A BAD DAY FOR SORRY (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2009) has been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Barry, and Crimespree awards, and won the Anthony Award and the RTBookReviews Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Mystery. Her novel AFTERTIME was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Horror award.

Sophie is also the author of:
A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY (Minotaur, 2010)
More about Sophie Littlefield...

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