Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Clarity

CLARITY (Clarity #1)
Kim Harrington
Paranormal Young Adult
242 Pages
Scholastic Point
Available now
Received from publisher for review

Clarity Fern is a member of what some may call an unusual family. Her mother can read minds. Her brother speaks to the dead. Clare herself possesses the ability to touch objects and see certain events related to that object, a gift that let her know her boyfriend Justin had cheated on her when she brushed her hand over his jacket. Sometimes her gift really isn't a gift at all.

Typically not too much exciting happens in Clare's small tourist town, but that quickly changes when a young woman is found shot to death in her hotel room, and the current mayor's son, also known as Clare's ex-boyfriend Justin, asks Clare for her unofficial help in the investigation. Her work will pair her with Gabriel, the new sheriff's very good-looking son, as neither the Mayor nor sheriff want it to be known they're working with someone like Clare on such a high profile case.

Despite Gabriel's obvious distaste for her ability, Clare still finds herself attracted to him and spends more and more time in his presence as they uncover new leads. Unfortunately for Clare, the new leads point in a variety of different directions, some unsavory and some a hitting a little closer to home than she'd like, and soon the gift Gabriel so mocks puts her right in the line of fire.

Clarity is a stunning debut, one that combines humor with mystery and dynamic characters with a well-paced plot, using each of these elements in a blissful combination that holds us transfixed the moment we begin reading and keeps us in place as we find ourselves anxious to join the hunt for a murderer. Ms. Harrington has written a crisp and concise story that could have easily been bogged down by overused plot devices, but in her skillful hands we are not tiredly wondering why we're being exposed to yet another love triangle nor do our thoughts drift aimlessly with a sense of deja vu, instead our focus remains glued to Clare's unique ability, her close-knit family, and the ramifications of her first broken heart. Clarity is easily devoured in one sitting, leaving us satisfied upon conclusion but still undeniably curious–not wanting our exposure to these new and memorable individuals to be over just yet–and we add this title to the pile of books that have charmed us, intrigued us, and led us to mark their creators as auto-buy authors.

Clare is an outspoken, snarky young woman who often finds it difficult to keep her mouth shut when those around her hurt or offend either her or those she cares about, and we sit back and quirk our lips in amusement as she fights her own battles, wishing we possessed her ability to say what she means the moment she means it. She handles the two young men in her life with a refreshing maturity, dealing with her hurt and lingering attraction to Justin with a realistic honesty as she fully acknowledges her desire to inflict the same pain she suffered at his betrayal, but also refusing to to be naive and deny her feelings for him entirely. With Gabriel she exhibits an admirable sense of caution, recognizing her growing affection for him but not so blinded by his good looks that she ignores his imperfections and loses herself in a haze of hormones.

In addition to a main character who earns our instant and unwavering support, Clarity illustrates Ms. Harrington's adeptness at weaving a complex murder mystery. While we may initially have a suspect in mind, each new clue expertly shifts our focus to someone new, and sometimes to someone whom we desperately hope is innocent but remains just suspicious enough to keep us on our guard. When we reach the conclusion we look back and realize each piece of information played a unique and vital role, blending together to create a story free of extraneous details and overly verbose descriptions, and leaving behind characters whose specific actions throughout come together at the end to paint an entirely different picture of the people we thought we knew in the beginning. Every element in this tale seems to be perfectly balanced, allowing us to absorb fully the emotional interactions, engaging characters, and effortless suspense all at one time as opposed to having our attentions split when certain aspects of the the story are given more weight than others.

Though this story isn't one that takes a toll on our feelings or leaves our hearts in tatters so it's forever branded in our minds as unforgettable, it's a quick and enthralling read that delivers solid entertainment on all fronts. The attention given to Clare's gifted mother and brother and their unique relationships with Clare is a welcome reprieve from the prevalent trend of focusing primarily on romantic connections or friendships–a trend that leaves the vital familial bond painfully neglected. With a little paranormal activity, a smidgen of romance, and a large dose of mystery, Clarity has a little something for everyone and truly is one that should not be missed.

Rating: 4/5


  1. Thanks for the wonderful review! I love MC that are willing to stick up for themselves and others. Clare seems like my kind of gal. Can't wait to read this one!

  2. Great review, Jenny! I did not know Clarity involved a murder mystery too! Now I am definitely going to read it :)

  3. Wonderful REview! I also read and loved Clarity so I agree with you on all points! I loved the combination of suspense and paranormal aspects since this is done way too little in other YA books.

    Happy Monday :)

  4. This review is not helping me wait for my copy to arrive. I love the sound of the mysterious plot and also Clare. I prefer female heroines with snarky attitudes :)

  5. YAY! So glad you like this book. I am looking forward to reading this. Great review Jenny :)

  6. I really loved Clarity and found the mystery well developed and not predictable (although I tried). I also really love Clarity and the fact that she did have such a hard time keeping her mouth shut. I will definitely be looking forward to more from Kim. Terrific review, Jenny!

  7. How funny. The very last post I read before hopping over to your blog was a review on Clarity and I just said in my comment there that although I'd seen a lot of people receive this book via their IMM posts, I'd hardly seen any reviews - and here you are with one too.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It really does sound awesome. I just did a book order with Amazon and checked this one out a couple of times but dismissed it. I really wish I'd put it in there now.

  8. This book just arrived on my doorstep on Saturday! It's the next book I'm picking up and I can't wait! Great review!

  9. Claire sounds like a great character. One that a lot of teens can look up too and I love that she's outspoken. ;) Now I really want to get a copy of this book. Great review.

  10. This does sound like a great book and one I may need to get. I like when a murder mystery is done well and isn't easy to figure out :)

  11. Thanks for the wonderful review, Jenny! I can't wait to get started on Clarity. It sounds like just my kind of thing, and I also like that it seems different from a lot of other YA books I've read!

  12. I've hear that this one is a 'light' but really involved read. You made the book sound so lovely, and I think this is one of my favorite review of yours!

  13. Gorgeous review- I love the way your reviews get me all excited to read...:)

    I cant wait for this one, its been on my radar for a long time- since I saw the cover like 6 months ago....

  14. Thanks for the review Jenny !! I love this cover and I have never read a book about psychics so I look forward to have this one ;) !!

  15. ajmitchell - Me too! That's why Clare was so fabulous:)

    Misha - It does! And I kept thinking I knew who it was and then she kept changing my mind:)

    Danny - Thank you!

    Nic - As do I, any girl with some snark is a girl I want to read about:) Can't wait to see what you think!

    Savy - I think you'll be a fan, looking forward to your thoughts on it!

    Jan - I tried too and thought I was so smart, but I was wrong:)

    Slowest - I hope you get a chance to order it soon, it's fabulous:)

    Jacinda - yay! Can't wait for your review:)

    Nina - Clare is a really great character, she just seemed very realistic and not overdone in any way.

    Felicia - I know you don't read a lot of YA, but this is a really quick, fast read. I think you'd like it:)

    Leanna - You're welcome:) It was a great story, it ended and I just wanted more. But not because there was a cliffhanger:)

    Linds - Thank you so much, coming from you that's a huge compliment as your reviews are ridiculously amazing:) I was surprised how much depth this one had for being a short read, definitely a fan:)

    Tina - Thank you my dear! Hope you try it soon:)

    Elodie - I love that she has a paranormal power, but it's not so crazy unusual that you can't imagine it existing. Clare seemed so normal and real despite having this talent and I loved that about her:)

  16. I love the sound of this! I'm all for mysteries and this sounds like a great story of twisting plots. Will definitely be picking this one up - wonderful review Jenny!

  17. Really liked Clarity and cant wait for the next one especially with the warning Clarity gets about her future.

  18. Tara - I hope you do pick it up, I was thoroughly impressed with it!

    Jenny - Exactly, I'm read for more:)

  19. Eep! you've just made me EXTRA excited about this book! I could just strangle Amazon for the delay in shipping.

    Wonderful review,
    Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

  20. Yay! I'm a happy big mouth right now because, without having read the book, I love Clare. Love your description of her. She definitely sounds like the type of character I would enjoy taking a journey with, even with the annoyance of a love triangle involved, thought I'm glad it doesn't seem too bothersome here.

    Thanks for this :D

  21. I have this one on my wishlist but haven't seen too many reviews for it. I know Jenny @ Dreaming of Books reviewed it though and loved it and I'm glad to see you did too. Clare sounds like a great protagonist so I'll have to save up for this one next month then.

  22. Jennifer - Yay! Hope Amazon gets in gear you and you get it soon:)

    Missie - I really liked Clare, she was my kind of girl:) The love triangle was sort of not really a triangle since Justin was a nasty, nasty cheater (ok, not nasty, but a cheater). But he wasn't an a-hole so there's potential there for reconcilement. Maybe.

    Zahida - Hope your budget allows this one, it's really great:)

  23. Ok, I wasn't interested in this one until I read your review. Sounds emotionally intense and suspenseful. I'm adding it to the TBR! Thanks for the insight, Jenny!

  24. Oh damn! I need to read this book. I've loved the cover and now with this review, she really seems like someone I need to get to know.

  25. we are not tiredly wondering why we're being exposed to yet another love triangle nor do our thoughts drift aimlessly with a sense of deja vu

    Clare is an outspoken, snarky young woman who often finds it difficult to keep her mouth shut when those around her hurt or offend either her or those she cares about

    I am not going to lie, I had no idea what this book was about, I have just seen it pretty much everywhere in the Twitter world lately... But those two lines of yours I quote Jenny? Well, they make this book sound amazing and something that I have to get my hands on!

    Thanks for the great review!

  26. I wasn't sure what to make of this one when it first started popping up on the blogosphere, but thanks to your review it's definitely going on the tbr list now!

    Fabulous as always, Jenny!

  27. Can't wait to read this one for myself! I'm so looking forward to the snarky main character and mystery that you mention!!

  28. Sounds great! I love books that have strong family elements to them. They're quite rare for YA.

  29. Ash - It was just a really fun and quick read, I loved it:)

    Melissa - I really liked Clare, she was someone I could support and she had a mouth on her which I always appreciate:)

    Avery - I hope you try this one, I think you'll like it! I just sat down on the couch, picked it up and flew through it in no time at all:)

    Carissa - It's good, I was impressed:)

    Aylee - Hope you love it!

    Alison - I agree completely. I loved how involved her mother and brother were, they weren't just there in passing, they all worked together and it was nice to read:)

  30. Great review Jenny!!

    sounds like an awesome book! =D

  31. Me want! Too bad I'm on a book ban. I will definitely keep this one on my Wishlist. You grabbed me right at a stunning debut! I'm a sucker for mysteries. The sheriff's son sounds like a hottie! Clarity sounds like it has a little bit of everything. Fab review :)

  32. This books sounds really fun and exactly what I liked about "The Body Finder". I seem to strike out with my current reading pile and I hope this one saves me from a reading slump. Thanks for the review, Jenny!

  33. wow sounds awesome! I love me a snarky MC. And a debut author to boot?! Score!

  34. Love, love, love your review. Snarky heroine not afraid to say what's on her mind? Well drawn-out and complex murder mystery? And a heroine who is for once not completely and utterly blinded by the hot boy's hot looks? You have me sold more than ever now.

  35. Great Review! I loved this story. I'm having a hard time writing a review. Now, I'll have an even harder time! I really enjoyed the story. I live on Cape Cod so it was fun to read about a place where we lived. But Eastport is fictional.


  36. Jenny! You can tell that you really enjoyed reading Clarity, and that makes me want to read it even more! Thanks so much for your review :)


  37. Excellent, excellent review! The way you described everything, from the snarky heroine to the way she handles her love triangle to the mystery and the inclusion of her family...this sounds like a fantastic debut!

  38. I can't wait to read this book - great review! I am now a follower :)