Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CLARITY by Kim Harrington

Author:  Kim Harrington
Publisher:  Point (a Scholastic imprint)
Release Date:  March 1, 2011
Number of Pages:  242
Source of Book:  ARC from my bookseller friend
When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?
This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case - but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother - who has supernatural gifts of his own - becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?
I had heard so many positive reviews of this book that I was eagerly anticipating reading it, and it didn't let me down. Once I looked at the first page to see how it sounded - I was gone for the next two days reading it every chance I got. "You don't want to kill me," I said. "Of course I don't, Clare. But I have to." And a paragraph later, "...On my right was the crumpled body of a guy I hadn't fully realized the depths of my feelings for until I saw a bullet rip into him." OK - I was hooked - there was no chance I was putting this book down.

Clarity (Clare) Fern is a psychic from a family of psychics, and not the kind you normally think of as the scammers, but the real kind. She, her mother, and her older brother all have different psychic abilities, and they use them to entertain the tourists in their Cape Cod town. I loved Clare - she is full of snark and sass and wit in a Veronica Mars type way - and I totally want to be her friend. She doesn't take any crap from anyone, and is fiercely loyal to her family. She's been hurt, but she still has hope for finding a good guy (and there are a few to go around apparently!) Plus, she's just really likeable the way she's written. This book, and her character, reminded me of other favorite mystery books THE LIAR SOCIETY and DEATH BY BIKINI, all with kick butt, tell-it-like-it-is girls who are smart, but vulnerable and whose mysteries are sometimes usurped by their teen relationships with family and boys.

The secondary cast of characters in this book was fun, as many small town novels tend to be, and I enjoyed seeing Clarity struggle with the boys she was surrounded with. Although it was a little predicatble in the end (as I did guess earlier on who might be the culprit), it still kept me guessing throughout and I was never quite sure if my guess would turn out to be right or not. The mystery kept me on my toes, and Clare's realtionships kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next.

CLARITY was a fun, light read, even though there were some serious elements with the mystery, the murder, and the people trying to figure everything out, and I would definitely recommend it to students who are looking for a mystery, and even to students who maybe need to be exposed to a mystery book. It's got a great main character, an interesting mystery, and lots of snark and sass and laugh out loud comebacks, with a touch of vulnerability. I also appreciated the underlying story of not judging people before you know them and know the truth, and Clare's battles to stand up for herself and be confident even when others are doubting her.

I'll be eagerly waiting on the sequel, PERCEPTION, coming March 1st, to find out what Clare decides to do and what happens to her next.


  1. This is one of my favorites. My kids are always asking for mysteries, so I lead them to Clarity. I can't wait for Perception. I'm glad you liked it :)

  2. My students are always, always asking for mysteries, too! We need to get that to be the next trend in YA :)