________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 37 . . . . May 25, 2018


The Hanging Girl.

Eileen Cook.
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2017.
311 pp., hardcover, $24.99.
ISBN 978-0-544-82982-4.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.

Review by Lacey Crowie.

**** /4



My heart raced and adrenaline Ping-Ponged around my system. I wanted to pace, but my bedroom was barely large enough to hold my twin bed and the card table that I used as a desk. Holy Shit. Paige Bonnet was actually missing.

I took a few deep breaths in and out. The police were looking for her, but it was clear from the news reports that no one believed anything bad had happened to her. She'd cried wolf too often, taking off for spring break, running away to stay with some guy she met on a Christmas ski trip. She might be a judge's daughter and from the right side of town, but she had a reputation for being a wild child. No one would look for her seriously. Not yet.

Getting them to do that was my job.

Skye Thorne is close to graduating and moving to New York with her best friends, but there's only one problem – she has no money to make it happen. Doing bogus tarot card readings here and there for pocket money isn't going to cut it this time, and so when Skye is offered a way to get enough money to move plus some, she takes the deal. Soon Skye begins using her "psychic" abilities to help the police find Paige, a girl from her school who has gone missing. Little do they know that Skye is wrapped up further in Paige's disappearance than she would like to admit.

      The Hanging Girl is a well-written novel for young adults. The story is suspenseful and intriguing as Cook manages to keep the reader in the dark for a period of time as to the details of Paige's disappearance while giving small clues here and there, creating a semi-unreliable narrator within Skye for the first half of the novel. After the reader discovers that Skye is really involved in Paige's disappearance, the story takes on a whole new meaning, and that fact is only the first of many twists.

      In terms of character development, Skye is well-rounded and dynamic. Having grown up with a mother who believes she has true psychic abilities, Skye uses her street smarts and calculated way of reading people to deliver fake tarot card readings for the other kids at school. It's this detail about herself that makes the rest of her actions, especially when interacting with the police, genuine. The fact that she is guilty of wrongdoing also sets her apart, yet author Eileen Cook has created a narrator that the reader can't help but still sympathize with.

      Readers who enjoy detective stories, murder mysteries and crime novels will find The Hanging Girl engaging.

Highly Recommended.

Lacey Crowie works in the School of Business Dean's office at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is currently completing her Master's in Children's Literature at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, contact cm@umanitoba.ca.

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