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Review: Clarity

Clarity is author Kim Harrington’s debut young adult novel. It was released in the U.S. on March 1, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

Published by Point (Scholastic) the print edition is 256 pages.

Clarity is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com and is one of my original twelve picks.

Goodreads description:

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?

***

It’s doubtful the summer could get much worse for Clarity Fern. Her boyfriend Justin, the boy she loved and the only friend she had aside from her brother and his friend Nate, betrayed her by cheating on her with the skanky Tiffany. One drunken moment and everything they had together was shattered.

Now she would have to spend the summer alone, fending off the teasing and taunts by herself. No one wanted to befriend the town freak. It’s not that everyone didn’t believe she had psychic abilities, it’s just that those who did, didn’t want anything to do with her. Justin was the only one who did.

And though she came from a family of psychics, her brother Perry did not have the same problems she did. Because of his looks, girls were willing to overlook almost anything. And it’s not like she’s ugly. She’s seen the way guys look at her. But having retrocognitive psychometry, or visions from touch, would creep anyone out. Just one touch could bring on a vision. It’s how she found out about Justin and Tiffany.

But summer is the busy season for the family business and she is required to put in her time, although she’d much rather spend her days at the beach than giving psychic readings to a bunch of tourists. With a new psychic in town with a prime boardwalk location, her mom is more desperate than ever to get clients so they can make it through the slow season.

She didn’t think it was possible, but things do get even worse. When the body of a teenage girl is found at the local motel, not only is Clare asked to assist in the investigation, but she will have to work alongside her ex. The only bright spot is Gabriel, the super sexy son of the new detective.

With a killer on the loose, the family business in jeopardy and someone she loves a suspect in the crime, Clare finally has a reason to be thankful for her abilities, she only hopes they give her the answers she needs in time.

***

Clarity is a story that is easy to fall in love with. It is a delightful, fast-paced and captivating mystery with a plot that will keep you guessing until all is revealed at the end. And one with just the perfect number of suspects to make this a real puzzle.

Clarity “Clare” Fern is a strong, likable and believable main character. She is fiercely protective of those she cares about and is not afraid to stand up to people who try to put her down. She stays strong and true to her character, even after being betrayed by her boyfriend, and even when it means she’ll be alone.

This is an absolutely fantastic debut novel by author Kim Harrington. Her writing feels effortless – the story just flows on the page from beginning to end. It is a mystery you will be able to just breeze through while trying to figure out whodunit and in the process fall in love with all the characters.

This looks to be an exciting new series and is a must read for fans of mysteries, puzzles and well-written stories with a touch of the paranormal. There is a bit of a love triangle for fans who like them, and not enough of one to be a distraction for those who don’t.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

This was such a fun and light read. That is if you can call a murder mystery light or fun. I just sailed through this story and loved every second of it.

I did not realize this was as much of a mystery story as it was when I started reading or I would have immediately tried to guess whodunit. And I usually consider myself pretty good at figuring out who the killer is, but I found myself flipping back and forth between who and why so many times I made myself crazy.

And I will admit it. I was not exactly right with my guess. Close, but no cigar for me!

Author Kim Harrington was just so good at distributing suspicion evenly among all the characters. And like Clare, once all was explained all the pieces fit together and I had my “aha” and “duh” moments. This is one of maybe three mysteries I’ve read where I wasn’t right – and I’ve read a ton of Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark books.

I love Clare. She is loyal to her family but not unrealistically so. She is strong and determined and not ashamed of who she is and what she does. Her mom is a great character – the perfect hippy psychic – though definitely one I would not have wanted to be my mom. She is nosy and selfish and seems to have little disregard for what her children want. And to have named her son Periwinkle is just cruel!

And I thought the love triangle in this was perfect. It was subtle and felt very real and unforced.

There was a great setup for the next book with a number of questions to be answered about Clare and her family and a psychic vision about the future we’ll have to wait and see if it comes true. (Though I totally wish I didn’t have to wait.)

Favorite quote: “I’m tired of trying to hate you.” (I can not give attribution to the quote without spoilers, so I’ll just leave it here to tease.)

***

Perception the second book in the series will be released in March 2012.

Book trailer for Clarity:

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