Hanging by a Thread - Sophie Littlefield
I won this book from a giveaway through Adventures in YA Publishing.

FYI: I haven't read any of the author's work before this so it's completely new and reading it as a stand alone novel.

I thought this book was okay. I liked it but not really liked it. It could have been better. I think the characters were done well. Their relationships were dynamic and made sense. The love interest was instant yet they didn't try to make it deeper by talking much about common interests. It's flimsy and I'm not an insta-noodle-love fan. Lust? Yeah, got it. Love, though, I don't buy the ramen noodle approach to it. Usually there's some dire circumstances pushing them together or a paranormal connection like soul mates to make it work. This time around it's Jake pretending to care about clothes and the teenagers are model hot of course. I'm wondering now what will happen next when old friends meet new and Jack learns the little secret about Clare. The characters did progress, which usually I'm head over heels for but in the total package there just wasn't enough for me. But is it enough to go on to the next book? I don't know. I really don't care and probably won't think about it at all once I'm done with this review. I think it will depend on what's the next mystery.

For me:
Mystery is not knowing all the information leading the characters to dig around to find out.

Suspense I think of as tension. As nail biting "what's going to happen next?" feeling.

As much as the book builds on this mysterious serial killer I didn't feel the threat at all. I mean no one in the book but Clare's family really made any "be careful" comments. Those comments really felt more like the normal parental worry, like "Don't go into the water at night. Stay with a buddy. Don't drink and drive". There was talk of the news coverage but with no clues leaked on how the two murders were connected or a real police presence currently in residence. The main characters weren't worried either. Everyone just assumes and I couldn't. I've read too many mysteries and crime shows to buy into it when there's no information to cause such a response.

It's a mystery but I didn't feel the suspense. I wasn't worried at all about people dying or anything happening besides Clare ruining her chance at being 'in' with the cool kids. The real threat didn't come out until the climax, then that threat fell flat as well.

The ending I have a hard time buying it. I mean they broke into the murderer's house. Then there is Clare's lame threat against the murderer to get them to confess. Her cover story to make it work didn't make sense. There's no evidence of them agreeing to meet and Rachel doesn't know a thing about this supposed meeting. Would the murderer be so stupid to invite the TWO girls over at the same time to try and kill them? Considering how the murderer got away with their deeds before I don't buy this threat and the murderer shouldn't have either. The cops would have checked into this story if the murder acted in character and didn't go along with confessing voluntarily. It would have fallen apart. Why would the murderer buy this threat for no reason and then go meekly on their own to the cops? . I think it's more likely they'd go completely crazy. It would have made more of a story if the murderer didn't go along with it, the cover-story-threat fell apart and then the cops have to build the case with Clare's help. It was just another let down for me. The lack of danger, suspense and a dull ending really hurt this story for me.

I think it boils down to a balance issue. There's Clare not feeling fear and caring about clothes a lot. Then there's suppose to be this scary serial killer destroying a town and killing star kids. Clare came through fine but the serial killer didn't. I think the complaints talking so much about the clothes would be lessened if the suspense was pumped up more. Or if there were less details of clothes and sewing it wouldn't be found such a drab drag of a read and the mystery would be more pronounced as is. Or if anyone felt fear besides the mother clinging to life through her daughter. Everyone in the forefront didn't really care or change their ways while people in the fuzzy background did, which made it hard to feel through all the layers of separation.

Even with Claire reliving bits of the attacks, it wasn't emotionally impacting for me. I can't put my finger on why but I didn't connect with this book. Which is probably the biggest reason why it felt average and "meh, okay, yea".

Claire felt real and true to character. She goes on about clothes and sewing because that's her passion. I think it's suppose to help the reader connect with her and understand her as well as being accurate to how she thinks. I'm not big on fashion in general and don't know how to sew so I didn't really get involved. It was interesting in an off handed kind of way. Like how you try to listen when your friend goes on about something they care about.

As it is due to the lack suspense and emotional impact it ends up an average tale about a girl struggling to fit in at a small town. For me it felt like a longer book than just 300 pages because of this. It's good if you like clothes or day to day details of characters and a little mystery. Usually, this is my kind of book but something was missing, something off in the formula.

I've read other stories where a character has the ability to see memories and emotions from clothes. It didn't feel particularly original or creative to me. That's not damning in itself since there's only so many stories with only so many was to tell it. I just didn't find anything in this book particularly compelling. It's okay but nothing really stands out or is gripping. If there's a sequel I'll look into it to decide but I'm not anxiously awaiting it. There's potential but it doesn't live up to it in this book and have no idea if the author will step it up in the next one.