Friday, March 11, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Publisher: Scholastic Point
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Source: Publisher/Author

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?

Proving that a well-paced, complex and convincing murder mystery can be written in under 300 pages, Kim Harrington brings forth an imaginative, heart pounding debut that combines contemporary with a dash of paranormal.

Clare is a fiery character: she's never hidden the fact that she has a psychic ability and rather than try to blend in, she proudly holds her head up high even though she knows people view her in a strange light. Her narration was definetely fun to read--especially her snarkiness. (I love me some sarcasm and Clare had an endless supply of it!) But underneath the spiky comments there's an intense loyalty to her family that gives Clare a lot of depth and compassion. Her family was also fun to get to know: her brother Perry who's a total player and probably someone you'd hate (or want to hook up with--you know, because he's so hot. Oh. Um. *coughs* Never mind.) and Clare's mother who encourages her and her brother to develop their psychic abilities but is otherwise a normal parent who teases and loves her children. The fact that they all have psychic abilities and make use of them is really cool to read about!

As for the other boys in this story.... Gabriel and Justin have different reactions to Clare's gift which raises the interesting question about which guy is better for her. She has history with one and a shaky beginning with the other. I enjoyed Clare's moments with both of them but for now I'm on Team Justin. ;)

As for the mystery aspect in the novel, Clarity succeeded in reeling me in with the who-dunnit-type plot. Harrington was very sneaky and doesn't show the reader who the true murderer is until the end--I thought I had the killer pegged until the author dropped the piano over my head. Well played, Ms. Harrington.

Mysterious, engrossing and sometimes scary, Clarity was a thrilling read that I'd recommend to fans of both paranormal and contemporary YA. Its mix of the two genres work so well that neither of its fans will be disappointed: contemporary fans won't be too bogged down with the psychic element and paranormal fans will still get their required dose of the supernatural but it'll be introduced with a contemporary setting that fits just right with the story.

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