Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Perception

PERCEPTION (Clarity #2)
Kim Harrington
Young Adult
288 pages
Scholastic Point
Available March 1st
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

Perception returns us to the life of Clare Fern, a young woman with an extrasensory gift who, despite having such, does not allow her life to revolve around or be dominated by the paranormal. Instead, we get a very real and down-to-earth girl plagued by insecurities, family troubles, and boy drama who holds us as spellbound as any of her supernatural contemporaries. The mystery element (in this installment a stalker) is nothing new or overly surprising, with a couple red herrings appropriately placed to keep us guessing and a gradual build up of tension that erupts in an action packed conclusion, but it's well executed and highly entertaining nonetheless, woven seamlessly into the trials and tribulations of Clare’s love and home life. Ms. Harrington writes with a fluid grace, characters and events combining and conflicting with an ease that most likely defies the amount of time spent carefully crafting each sentence, and we find ourselves laughing, sighing, and holding our breath as we sit back and thoroughly enjoy the telling of a good story.

Clare is a young woman who feels utterly genuine, her snark and humor prevalent enough to keep us snorting at her one-liners but not so overdone to the point where nothing sincere spills from her mouth, and whose mature handling of various situations turns us into adoring fans for sparing us copious amounts of teenage angst. Her romantic situation with Gabriel and Justin certainly could play out in melodramatic fashion, but both Clare and the boys deal with their love triangle in a way that makes it seem like such a thing may not be as far fetched as other scenarios have made us believe. She is understandably torn between the two, but she doesn’t spend all day every day worrying over making a decision, instead she often stops, catalogs her reactions to both young men, and then realizes she has no idea what she’s feeling or what to do about it; a realization that makes us smile because we know she’s never going to resort to playing romantic games in order to more clearly define those feelings.

On the boys’ side, Justin and Gabriel both make solid cases for themselves, never giving Clare an ultimatum or set amount of time in which she needs to come up with an answer for them, and both continue their pursuit of her without ever pushing her too far. They drop hints and playfully flirt, making us laugh while they continue to confuse us as though we’re the ones caught between them, but never once does their behavior have us rolling our eyes or shaking our heads in dismay. Though the relationship between the three of them is a main element, it’s not the sole focus, and Ms. Harrington proceeds to paint us a picture with more than a single color, bringing in both superficial and more complex issues with regard to both Clare’s mom and brother Perry to give us a complete image rich in tonality that holds us transfixed.

Overall, Perception is a quick and fun read with a spectacularly tangible cast of characters who would have us lining up to move to their small summer-tourist town if it weren’t for the somewhat alarming number of dead bodies that seem to pop up there. With Clare’s romantic decision seemingly made at the end of this story, the coming months for us will be all the more difficult to bear as we wait to see both how the ensuing ripples said decision will cause in her life will play out as well as what trouble will possibly find it’s way to her doorstop next.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I just skimmed your review because I haven't read Clarity yet. I've heard so many good things. I really need to get to it. It's funny - as many series as I've read, there are still more that I haven't gotten to. Never ending!

  2. LOL. ""If it weren't for the somewhat alarming number of dead bodies..." That's perfect xD

    A fantastic and informative review as always. Thank you, Jenny!

  3. I loved Clarity and I can't wait to read Perception. I'm happy to hear she hasn't lost her snark and humor this was one of the things I enjoyed most about Clarity.

    Glad you liked it:)

  4. I absolutely loved Clarity and I can't wait to read Perception. I'm glad to hear that this is a good sequel to Clarity. Your review has made me even more excited to read it :)

  5. Yaaaaaaay, Jenny!! Positive points about Perception push me to purchase it... LOL I was trying to use a 'P' alliteration but it didn't work out so well! x) STILL, I'm really glad that you thought this was a worthy sequel to Clarity because I adored the first book, and picking this one up is on my must-read list! :)

    Amazing review as always, Jenny! <3 It's nice to know that Clare doesn't resort to romantic games -- although I have to say I love Gabriel a bit more anyways! ;)

  6. I liked Clarity quite a bit so I'm looking forward to this one! I hope it's even better than the first book. I can't say I'm looking forward to reading more about the love triangle though. :P I'm not a fan of triangles in general, but hopefully this one won't bother me as much as some others. You did mention in your review that Clare doesn't spend all day focused on choosing between the two, so I've got my fingers crossed.

    Thanks for the helpful review, Jenny! :)

  7. I loved Clarity and I'm so looking forward to reading this one. So, Clare seemingly picks a boy at the end of this one? Can't wait to see who that is!

    Great review, Jenny!

  8. I am so excited for this book. I adored Clarity and look forward to being back in Clare's world! I am glad her personality hasn't changed. Thanks for the great review. :)

  9. Alison - No spoilers for Clarity in the review, both stories are pretty much stand alone mysteries:) They're short books, you could read them quickly!

    Sandy - It's true. I'd move there in a second except a lot of people seem to get killed there o_O. Glad you enjoyed the review!

    Danny - I did too! I just love Clare:)

    Tiffany - I like that both books stand alone for the most part, no huge cliffhangers to deal with:)

    Mimi - That was some nice alliteration! Well done you:) And I'm rooting for Gabriel too, Justin had his chance and blew it, but he is rather charming in this one.

    Sam - I'm not a fan of triangles either, I'm getting really tired of them, but the way this one is written feels real to me. Not overly dramatic and there's no game playing or anything like that:)

    Leanna - She does:):) WOOT! Looking forward to seeing what happens with that in the next book.

    Ash - Definitely the same Clare:) I really enjoy this series!

  10. These books are new to me. I'm taking a little YA paranormal break, but I'll keep these in mind.

  11. I was disappointed with Clarity as I hoped it would play up the mystery part but it ended up being too predictable for me. This one..I'm not so sure about. It doesn't seem to stand out enough for me so I think I'll pass. Thanks for the review, Jenny!

  12. Jennifer - They're fabulous, I highly recommend:)

    Rummanah - I thought I had the mystery in Clarity figured out, but then I thought I was wrong, and then I was right and I kind of liked how she convinced me I was wrong when I wasn't:) If Clarity wasn't for you though, Perception probably won't be either, but it is a quick read if you decide you want to try it:)

  13. Jenny!! I didn't read the review because I still need to read Clarity...I won a beautiful hardcover of it last year....

    Anyways just wanted to say HI...:D

  14. I loved Clarity so there are many things I am looking forward to in Perception. Good to hear that the mystery will keep readers guessing since I wasn't able to figure out who the killer was in Clarity either.

  15. Another aweesome review Jenny. I have yet to read Clarity and now I am more eager than ever. This sounds like fun...snorting one liners, dead bodies supernatural elements but I shudder at yet another love triangle! Thanks for the great review!

  16. Ohh, I didn't dare read it too closely as I still have to read the first book, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! This is another series I really want to read, but just haven't gotten to yet. I think I'll have to!

  17. Hahahaha your closing paragraph makes me smile. There's somewhat of a trend of crazy phenomenons that makes dead bodies pile up in otherwise completely alluring towns, eh? ;)

  18. Tina - HI!!!!!

    Jenny - I loved Clarity too:) And I enjoyed the stalker element to this one, very creepy.

    Heidi - Thank you! I really enjoyed both books. They're quick, highly entertaining books:)

    Rebecca - I hope you get a chance to read them:)

    Melissa - Right? Dead bodies put a damper on the whole relaxing vacation vibe:)

  19. Dunno about this one, it just sounds so familiar. Like I have read or seen something like it before

  20. YAY! So excited to read this book! Loved the review :)

  21. Mmm--can't wait to read this one! I really enjoyed Clarity, especially because of the characters and their little quirks. I'm not thrilled that there's a love triangle but it sounds like it's handled well, rather than thrown in for forced conflict.

  22. Oh sweet! I need this one. I have the first, but sadly haven't gotten to it. Sounds like I'll be needing this one too. However, looking at my tbr... I may be getting the one after this before I get to read the first 2. Looks like that may not be a bad thing. Hm...

    BTW... WHERE do all these girls come from that get 2 GREAT boys to fall for them. /jealousy ;)

  23. Oh I'm excited for this one! I think it sounds like a really good read... just fun, interesting, enjoyable.

  24. I really loved the first one in the series. Clare has such a great personality! I'm happy to hear that this one was good as well! I can't wait to read it!

  25. I really have to start reading this series !Everyone was raving about Clarity when it came out, that must have been for a reason ... I so need to buy a copy !! tHANks for the great review Jenny :)

  26. What? This is Clarity 2? Where have I been? I have book one sitting on my shelves, unread and unloved. *sad face*

    I need to get started on this series. I'd love to feel like I'm caught in the middle of two flirtatious boys. ;)

  27. I never actually read Clarity, so I kind of skimmed your review of this one. I'm glad you liked it. I really need to pick up Clarity. I've heard good things about it.

  28. I love the last paragraph about the alarming rate of dead bodies! So funny!! It also gets a lot of snow in the winter, just sayin'.

    Great review, I'm going to order it now! I loved Clarity and I really don't know which guy I'd like her to end up with. In the first book, I liked both of them.


  29. Great review! It sounds like the love triangle was nicely done, but I'm glad it isn't the sole focus of the book. :)

  30. Good to hear that the mystery and Clare were just as enjoyable this time around because from what I've heard, those were the main strengths of Clarity too. I love that Clare seems like a very sensible girl - I can't stand girls (or boys, for that matter) who play games!

  31. The love triangle in Clarity didn't work well for me. Part of it was that she seemed to be really over the cheating ex so I didn't get a lot of tension. I did like the mystery with all the red herrings.

  32. For some reason I have yet to read Clarity (I know, I know, I am crazy)- so I just skimmed over this review, seeing that you ;) gave it 4/5 stars means that I HAVE TO READ IT! Also, I really hope that this book series does become a TV series- wouldn't that be amazing?

  33. I finished this last week and really enjoyed it! I was so glad that Clare finally made a decision between the two boys. That was making me crazy, considering it should have been SO easy. ;) Team Gabriel!