Siavahda's Reviews > Hanging by a Thread

Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield
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Sep 27, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: general-fiction, urban-real-world-fantasy, ya, best-published-and-read-in-2012, original-superpowers-or-magic
Read from September 27 to 28, 2012

I LOVED this book. If it had been a little less detective-y I would have loved it a lot more, but that's personal preference only. As a book, it completely deserves five stars.

The number one reason for that is the main character Clare, and her superpower (magical talent? special ability? What do you call them?) First off, Clare is wonderfully unique in a genre where nearly all mcs seem struck from the same mould: she designs, makes and sells her own clothing out of vintage bits and pieces that she picks up. She wants to go to fashion school. She reminds me of Zara from Carrie Jones' Need in that both girls are immediately set apart from the cookie-cutter heroines stocking this genre by having their own particular desires, aims and hobbies; Zara with her letter-writing and Clare her sewing. I know it sounds like a very small detail - because, really, it is. But it's a small detail that most authors forget about. How many heroines can you think of that have their own hobby? Not reading or going for walks, but something they do and enjoy that is uniquely themselves? No?

Exactly.

So I loved Clare for that. But even better is her superpower. There've been lots of YA books recently about girls (or boys) who can see ghosts or talk to the dead. I have zero interest in ghosts, but it bothers me because authors keep writing about the same superpower - and without coming up with new ways to explore it. You might have noticed this happens a lot: YA has it's fads - vampires, werewolves, angels, zombies - and sticks to them for a while, until the next Big Thing. Littlefield has completely broken from the pack (yay!) because Clare a) is perfectly human, and b) possesses a superpower I've never seen before: she can 'read' cloth, seeing images, memories, and sensing emotions from other people's clothing.

It's wonderful because it fits so well with her personality, and it's really, really wonderful because it's so unique. Hanging by a Thread is a book to treasure just for that, for its utter refusal to give the reader what they expect. The mystery of the serial killer leads us in one direction before doing a 180; red herrings are dropped throughout, and Littlefield plays her reader the whole way through. I loved every minute of it!

So, yeah. Go read this! It's a great read, with fantastic characters (especially the main one) and an ending I, for one, certainly didn't see coming!
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