4 Stars: A Great Read
Hardback: 288 Pages
Publication: September 11, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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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 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 than her way of dress. She's the best friend, nice and unassuming. She hangs out with the in crowd but doesn't take part in the hard-core partying; she lives in a single-mom family; and she feels inexplicably drawn to trouble-boy Jack. Overall, she falls flat as a character and doesn't grow much as a person over the course of the novel.. Clare never interacts enough with any one character for a defining relationship to emerge; though she seems to be close with certain people, her relationship with them is complex, oscillating between trust mistrust. Her relationship with Jack also moves quickly in spite of her doubts of his trustworthiness, doubts that don't linger long.
More than the characters, the plot is what drew me into the story. The mystery behind the crimes does take time to unfold. Looking back, the twists aren't all that big or exciting; however, the way that they're handled heightens the tension and intrigue surrounding the mystery. There were so many directions I could see the plot heading in that I didn't see the truth until it was practically upon me. By the time the plot reaches its climax, I was creeped out and ready for the murderer to be caught, so my poor heart could rest. Clare's gift adds a nice supernatural element to the story that gives us insight into events and emotions we wouldn't have learned about in such vivid detail otherwise.
Overall, the story flows well, the plot is nicely handled, and the characters likable. This is a quick read that I would recommend to those looking for a good crime novel with a supernatural element.
A copy of this book was provided for review by the publisher.
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