Review: The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

Title: The Hanging Girl
Author: Eileen Cook
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format: E-ARC via Netgalley
Publication Date: 19th October 2017
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


Two girls, one fatal reading . . . because the truth always lies in the cards

Skye’s mother believes she has ‘the gift’ – the opportunity to see the future. Skye however can only see the opportunity to make money – and happily fleeces her gullible classmates into handing over their cash to hear their futures through Skye’s wellworn tarot cards. But it’s all in a good cause, right? Skye needs to save her hardearned cash to go to New York with her best mate Drew.

Then the local mayor’s daughter Paige disappears – and Skye has a tip off about her whereabouts. Skye is uncomfortable about the source and masks the tipoff as a vision she has received. But then events get wildly out of control…


This book was kindly provided to me for honest review by the Publisher via Netgalley. This has not impacted on the content of this review, which it my own honest opinion of the book.

Trigger Warnings

Sexual Assault/Rape, Victim Blaming, Mental health stigma.


First things first, some versions of the synopsis reveal a plot twist that occurs 63% into the book, which to be honest, I would consider a pretty large spoiler. That is not in the synopsis that I have included above, as I don’t want to spoil anyone for this book. The fact that this book is full of twists and turns makes this book very difficult to review without giving anything away, but I am going to do my very best.

Most of the book is told from the perspective of Skye, a teen aged girl who is excellent at reading people and uses this skill to earn money by giving tarot card readings, even though she isn’t a believer. The story begins with Skye somehow involved in the disappearance of her classmate, Paige. Her job is to point the police in the right direction, giving them just enough information to help the investigation, she does this by posing as  a psychic. The story takes off from there, and obviously thing become more complicated from there on as she realises she doesn’t know the full story. She is an interesting, and realistically flawed main character. Interestingly, Skye is not always a reliable narrator, which leads to some surprising twists.

Skye struggles with an anxiety disorder, and panic attacks, this is shown consistently throughout the book. I recognised some of her experiences, as things I also struggle with as a result of my own anxiety, and found the representation to be very realistic, especially when you take into account the stressful situation she is in. She also faces some stigma from people who are aware of her mental health problems, and people use that as a reason to doubt her.

At times Skye does not have an easy life, and works to help her mum keep the bills paid., and sometimes feels trapped by her financial situation. She’s very aware of the privileges of others, such as her best friend Drew, whose car was a birthday present, and is not worried about funding for college.The fact that people find it difficult to recognise their privilege and how it benefits them is looked at. I really liked that this was explored, especially since it’s not something you see all that often in YA.

There is a potential trigger for sexual assault/ rape in this book. The act itself does not appear on the page, but the aftermath does, and there is some horrible victim blaming. This is challenged, and it’s clearly not condoned, but it does happen. In the interest of keeping this review spoiler free, I won’t go into anymore detail, but I do wish that this had perhaps been discussed further somehow.

Overall this book is dark, full of twists and turns, with a really clever plot that kept me guessing to the very last page. The characters are not easy to like, they are all flawed and realistic people, however you do route for Skye, I found myself worrying about the choices she was making and who she was choosing to trust. It made for an exciting read, and I definitely found it difficult to put down.

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