Thursday, April 14, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington

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 a book blogger that I follow commented that Clarity was the best YA Paranormal book that she has read this year, I was naturally curious to find out if this book is really that good, and so I got it. And then I proceeded to finish it off within the next few hours.

Kim Harrington throws readers right into the deep end of the story (no dipping your toes here) by opening up with a dramatic scene in which the protagonist, Clare, is being held at gunpoint by a murderer. The story then jumps back nine days, to the day when a dead body was found in the vacation town of Cape Cod.

Clarity Fern , or Clare, is considered a freak by her schoolmates for her ability to see visions just by touching an object. She's gotten used to the constant teasing and taunting and tries not to let her friendless status bother her too much. Clare's brother, Perry, doesn't seem to have such troubles, despite his own strange “gift” of being able to communicate with the dead, and he has no shortage of girls eager to spend time in his company. But despite her brother's womanizing ways Clare still loves him, and considers him her best friend. Together, along with their mind-reading mother, they provide a unique psychic experience for visiting tourists.

When a tourist winds up dead, Clare's ex-boyfriend (who is also the mayor's son) convinces the police to turn to Clare for assistance in identifying the murderer. Clare is less- then delighted to be working with her cheating ex-boyfriend though the thought of working with the attractive detective's son definitely holds some appeal.

But as Clare begins to work on the case she is horrified to discover that her own brother may be involved in the murder of the tourist. Clare is determined to prove her brother's innocence, despite the niggling doubts that have her questioning how well she really knows her own brother.

From the very beginning we are aware that the murderer is someone that Clare is familiar with, based on the conversation that takes place between the two of them on the first page. I was concerned that this might make the culprit's identity too obvious, making the mystery less interesting, but Harrington does a pretty good job at including enough suspicious characters that I was left guessing for most of the book.

While the mystery isn't particularly complex it was still enjoyable book to read, especially due to the interesting cast of characters. The Fern family is at the center of the story, and their psychic business results in a mixed response from the residents of their town. The bullying that Clare has endured for most of her life has resulted in her becoming something of a loner, spending her free time either working in the family business or with her big brother and his best friend, Nate. Clare's mother is a mind-reading hippie who has been raising her two kids on her own, ever since her husband disappeared, many years ago. Perry has gotten the short end of the psychic stick, his talent only working when there are ghosts nearby and when it does work, as Clare says, “he has to listen to a dead person talk.”

The two side characters that receive the most attention are Justin, Clare's ex-boyfriend whom she still had feelings for, and the hot new guy Gabriel, who is drawn to Clare despite his distrust of psychics. And of course this will lead to a love-triangle, which seems to be a requisite of almost all YA books, though this will probably be played out more in future books.

Clarity was like a mixture of Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark (girl who is ostracized for her psychic gifts uses them to solve local murders) and Ann Aguirre's Blue Diablo (woman with ability to see vision from objects that she touches helps to solve crimes) distilled for young adults. But since I enjoyed both Harris's and Aguirre's books, this wasn't a problem for me, though it did feel like the story I was reading wasn't wholly original.

Since I haven't read a lot of good YA Paranormal books I guess I could say that Clarity is one of the better ones, and it certainly left me wanting to read more about Clare and her future adventures, which Clarity hints at. Kim Harrington has definitely caught my attention and I look forward to reading more books by her.


I do get disappointed a lot by YA pnr so dunno if I would dare to take the leap at all

i'm so glad you liked this one simcha. i have it on my shelf and i'm eager to get to it this summer vacation. thanks for the thorough review :)

Well. This is one amazing review for this book. I think I might have to get it. :) Thank you!

Blodeuedd: I think you would probably like this book, though I'm not sure what it is exactly about YA that disappoints you, so I can't say for sure.

chelleyreads: I look forward to reading your thoughts on this book, when you do read it.

Melissa: Thank you :) You should read it. I think you would like it. As I said, it reminded me a bit of Blue Diablo, which I remember that you enjoyed.

Yea, the comment about comparing to Ann really caught my attention. I do think I need to get this one at some point and give it a go. :) Thanks!

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