Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  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?

And here's what I thought:   This was a fast read that had me constantly guessing who might be the murderer.   The story starts right away with action (see first sentences below), so there's a tension driving the entire book.   Clare's a great character -- smart (and sometimes a bit snarky).  Her gift is explained as being "retrocognitive psychometry," where, if she touches an object, she can pick up imprints from the previous person.  Actually sounds pretty cool, until you consider how nasty some people are, and how picking up their imprints could be pretty unpleasant.   I liked how the story would go back and forth between Clare and her relationships with her brother, her ex-boyfriend (Justin), and the mysterious (and sexy) new guy in town, Gabriel.  The dialogue was well-written and completely believable, so I easily got pulled into the story (the smooth pace also helped quite a bit).

I really liked the setting, of the small beach-town.  The way that Harrington wrote about it, I felt like I was actually there at times.  I also liked how the different psychic abilities of Clare, her brother, and her mom were worked into the story, and how the three of them could combine their abilities to see something clearly.   Clare's mom was, at times, a little annoying, but I thought she was pretty cool. 

I will admit, there were a few things I was a little "meh" on.  Some of the characters were a little too predictably written, like Stephen, who actually reminded me a lot of Steff from Pretty in Pink.  There's a mean girl, Tiffany Desposito (a/k/a "the queenpin of the Trifecta of Mean" - p. 23).   Also, Clare at times seemed a little predictable.  She obviously chafes under the "freak" classification given to her by some of her classmates, so she's got her armor up.  But, of course, under all that, she just wants to be loved.   I didn't need that spelled out.  However, my reaction to all of this could just be the fact that I'm not a teenager (if I had read this when I was 15, I would have been in love with this book).  

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I'm already looking forward to the next one, Perception.  This was a fast read, with characters that I generally liked, and with a plot that had a lot of twists and turns to it.  I gave it a 3 ink bottle rating because I don't have anything that's between 3 and 4 --- the book is actually closer to a 4 in my mind, but I went with the 3, since I found a few things I wasn't completely wild about. 

This was a pretty good book, so don't let the 3 scare you away!!

First sentences:   "You don't want to kill me," I said.
"Of course I don't, Clare.  But I have to."
If I wasn't already bleeding, with the room tilting and swaying, I would have slapped myself.  I never saw this coming. 

Thoughts on the cover:  Very nice, and definitely eye-catching.  Reminds me of summer -- I like how her hair seems to be blown by a breeze, with birds and the sea in the background.  Nicely suits the story.

Please note: I received an ARC of this book, courtesy of Book it Forward ARC Tours -- thus any quotes/page numbers may change upon final publication.


Anonymous said...

Interesting review. Sometimes as an 'adult' reader of YA fiction I find myself thinking things like that but kind of brush it off by reminding myself that it is for teenagers. I have read so many good things about this book, but I think I'd probably have a similar experience to you. I think I'll wait until it's out in paperback.

Natalie said...

I like how you mentioned that, if you would have read the book when you were 15, you would have loved it. I'm 20, and I already feel like I sometimes get annoyed with "teenage" conventions in literature. Like The Slowest Bookworm said above, sometimes I find myself brushing things off and reminding myself that it's for teenagers too!

I've heard mostly good things about Clarity, so I'll probably be giving it a shot!

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