Written by Kim Harrington
Published February, 2011 by Point
Genres: Mystery, Psychics
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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?
What a surprising little book! At just 250 pages, Clarity is a read you’ll be able to finish in one sitting. With a fast-paced murder-mystery and a realistic and likeable heroine, the book proves itself as one of the better YA psychic-versus-mystery stories!
The thing I liked most about Clarity was the titular character, Clarity or ‘Clare’. She was extremely funny, said what she thought and reacted both rationally and true to herself. Faced with a lot of obstacles and problems throughout the course of the novel, she always managed to come out on top. I mentally applauded her on more than one occasion (most notably the soda-dumping scene!)
I thought a lot about rating this book a four. In my opinion it’s better than all the other YA mysteries I’ve read where the heroine is the investigator/psychic. Why? I guess because Clarity was so likeable and the plot threw the readers back and forth between guessing the murderer and then second guessing their choice. It wasn’t outrageously obvious as to who was behind the murder of the teen victim, Victoria. The background given with Clarity and her family was also interesting, with their ‘psychic reading’ business adding a lot of weight to the story. Kim Harrington’s secondary characters – such as Clarity’s mum and her brother, Perry – were well drawn out, too. I’d rate this higher than The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting.
The setting was also brilliant; with Clarity and her family living in a small, touristy town in the Cape Cod area. It made for an interesting atmosphere – beach one minute, crime scene the next! You find yourself wondering who the killer could be in such a small community.
What let me down with this one, however, was the romance-y aspect of the book. I didn’t feel that we got enough time to really warm up to Clarity with any one of the guys. As it’s only a small book, the interactions seemed rushed and even though Clarity hardly knew Gabriel – and even suspected him of something – they were entering into the kissing, etc. and I just felt it was out of place. Clarity was a strong enough character to remain on her own throughout the events of the book. Perhaps the romance could have been brought in a little later in the series, say with the next book Perception, but I guess the YA audience demands what it demands. I must also mention that there’s also the shaky relationship Clarity shares with her ex, Justin. This, thrown in on top of the budding relationship with Gabriel, often clogged the story and drew away from its mystery elements.
I had a few complaints about the ending, but nothing too serious. I only wish it hadn’t wrapped up so quickly and with the ‘showdown’ at the end, which was quite predictable. I knew the book would have to end with a bang, as these sorts of ones always do (you know, the scene where the killer surprises them and then proceeds to confess the whole crime and recap the events of the book, gloating instead of taking action toward his new prisoners…) but I had initially hoped that Kim Harrington would travel down a different path, away from the norm.
All that being said, it was a good read. I was able to finish it within a few hours and didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time getting stuck into it. I’m quite happy with what I found within Clarity and I’m sure if you’re already developing an interest in the book, you will too. It’s faster-paced than the others with similar plotlines, has a better heroine and better secondary characters.
Recommended to: If you’re considering delving into the YA mystery scene, which features a psychic girl working for the police (hey, people have particulars!) then give Clarity a shot!