Clarity by Kim Harrington

ClarityTitle: Clarity

Author: Kim Harrington

Genre: Mystery/Paranormal

Publisher: Scholastic Point

Pages: 242

Rating: 4.5/5

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?

When I first saw the cover for this book, I was instantly interested. Then I read the synopsis and I was hooked – not only did it sound like a great new paranormal adventure, but I liked the sound of the romance – most young adult protagonists don’t have cheating ex-boyfriends to deal with, and they don’t seem very realistic. With the paranormal aspect, you can’t really say that this is a realistic book, but I thought the romantic dynamics seemed interesting.

Then I read the book, and I was happy to see that my thoughts before were fairly accurate – the story was amazing! I read it in two days, barely stopping to take a break. It was fairly short – only 242 pages – but plenty happened in that short span of time, so I was able to deal with the shortness. And the mystery was great – I don’t know if I was just really blind not to figure it out or if the author was that great at weaving the murder mystery. Sure, there were clues, but I had a suspect in mind about half way through and I wasn’t able to think of anyone else.

Now we get to the romance. Like I said, I was expecting things to be a little more original with the combination of an ex-boyfriend and a potential love interest. I really liked how the author presented the readers with a love triangle, but not an unbalanced one, like the ones you often see in paranormal YA books. I’m not sure who I like better – the cheating ex-boyfriend who wants nothing more than things to go back to normal, or the hot, mysterious sheriff’s son, who seems to hate Clare’s powers for an unknown reason. That may paint the characters in a bad light, but they’re so much more than that – I think there’s enough background in the story to make these characters likable and to help the reader understand these negative points. This isn’t a case of abusive love interests who continually mess with the girl, but she keeps coming back to him, like an addiction. Maybe I’m overlooking some problems, maybe I’m blinded by the glow of loving this book and being unable to wait for the sequel, but I think the love interests are perfectly normal, and guys I wouldn’t mind knowing, despite their shortcomings.

Overall, I loved this book, and am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. It seems fairly open-ended, without much of an overreaching arc, but that’s what I like about it. Throw in the fact that this is a 2011 debut (my first of the year, eleven more to go!), and it makes me love it even more. Harrington did an amazing job, especially considering this is her first book. I can’t wait to see more from her, and if she grows more as a writer, then we’re really in for a treat.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


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