Thanks to NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017
Synopsis: Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realises the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.
Hanging Girl is the first book I’ve read by Eileen Cook so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What happened was I wound up hooked by the end of the first chapter and read it in less than three hours because I literally couldn’t stop reading. I swear my mouth dropped open so many times that now my jaw hurts!
In the beginning, I honestly didn’t think I was going to like Skye. She and her mother are “hucksters” as one character calls them. Skye has learned to take a page out of her mother’s book and bills herself as a psychic, and gives tarot readings to her classmates, for a cost of course. Only eighteen, she’s cynical and jaded for someone so young which sadly makes her an easy target for the people behind this kidnapping scheme. Throughout the book Skye makes one bad decision after another, yet I still wanted everything to turn out okay for her. Despite her actions, she’s smart and has a snarky sense of humor and outlook on life. She’s vulnerable because she sees no real future for herself beyond waiting tables. Because of this I think a lot of what she does is self sabotage. She’s a bit of an outcast at school because of something that happened in eighth grade, but she has one close friend, Drew. I wasn’t able to fully buy into their friendship though. It seemed flat and superficial and I found myself wanting to be shown more, rather than told, why these two girls were practically sisters. But this was just a small part of the story, so it didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment.
There’s quite a cast of secondary characters including Skye’s seemingly clueless mother, the two detectives assigned to the case, an empathetic school guidance counselor, and Paige and her father. They all have an impact on Skye, some positive, and others not so much. But the overarching theme is with all of them there’s more than meets the eye. This is the second YA book in a row where I was thrilled to see adults portrayed pretty realistically.
To say the plot has twists and turns, doesn’t do it justice. A couple I saw coming, but there were a few that completely floored me. I have mixed feelings about the ending though. While the mystery is solved and all questions answered, I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed at the way things turned out, although I did understand it.
Overall, Hanging Girl is an exciting thrill ride with a main character who’s completely relatable, and will have readers guessing right up until the end. I highly recommend it to older teens and adults who love psychological thrillers that keep them up at night. I’m looking forward to reading more of Eileen Cook’s work!