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Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

Clarity by Kim Harrington

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Release Date: March 1, 2011

Publisher: Scholastic
Source: own/Purchased
Purchase: Book Depo. | Amazon | Kindle
About the Book:

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?
Amazingly, I really liked Clarity. I don't mean to sound like I don't care for that feeling or to sound so surprised, but, frankly, I'd let so many reviews form a preconceived image of my reaction to the book that I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I think many people missed it for what it is--a part serious, part entertaining tale of a psychic girl  dealing with demons of her own, WHILE helping the police with an investigation of a murder. Undoubtedly, the story was not without flaws. But there were so many good, enjoyable aspects as well.

Clare and I, we have one of those I-love-you-hate-you relationships. On the one hand I admire her, even respect her some. She takes up the police's request that she help them track down a killer in the town. If it were me, I would've balked, in thinking of the dangers and repercussions of accepting. But, Clare has a strong, almost too black-and-white sense of right and wrong. And it's right to help stop a murderer in her book, despite potential dangers and lacerations. I applaud her for that. I can commend her for mature way of dealing with the skeptical Gabriel, and the not-so-mature way of handling her archnemesis during that one diner scene in the beginning. I'd like to be as ballsy as her. However, I'd like to pop her one for the way she treated Justin, her ex-boyfriend.

I noticed in a lot of reviews people said that they couldn't decide between either guy in this love triangle, on the grounds that they didn't like them or didn't get to know them well. I beg to differ. I had very strong, very definitive emotions toward both boys. Justin, he has my sympathy and my support in his quest to regain Clare's trust in him and to be with her again. Gabriel, well, he's another story. I don't like him, don't trust him. There's something about him that gave me the heebie-geebies while reading. But, back to my wanting to punch Clare in the face--was it really necessary for her to act like such a jerk to a guy who clearly regrets his biggest mistake? Every time she was around him (except toward the end) I wanted to sock her one, simply because her treatment of him was unwarranted. (You'd think a girl would want to try for dignity, if anything, when dealing with an ex that cheated.) I was fully prepared to detest Justin. But he's not your typical jerk-face two-timer, and the fact that .5) he never doubts her or her family 1) he's a good guy 2) he acknowledges and deeply regrets his mistake 3) he hurts because his actions hurt her and 4) he's still in love with her screams I AM THE RIGHT CHOICE. I understood and accepted her reluctance to fall back into a relationship with him. I just didn't get her raging need to withhold forgiveness from him for as long as she did or intended. But I think you'd have to read the book to recognize where I'm coming from.

While the plot/murder mystery deal could've been executed a bit better, and the actual killer a more clear-cut villain, I had fun with trying to solve who the killer was and why. You know, uncovering the motive--which, I think, despite the explanation given, wasn't as logical as I'd wanted it to be. I did like the constant suspicion that tagged along with me throughout the ride. Not knowing who done it--could it have been her brother? Her neighbor? A friend? Who? Even if I hadn't been frantically gripping the book, ripping through pages in a rush to find out, I was entertained and I didn't feel like my time was wasted by the time I was done.

My only real issue was the supporting cast. In particular, Clare's mom and brother. Perry, Clare's brother, seemed like this cool guy. A player, good-humored, and caring. However, since he was depressed for most of the book, it was hard to be charmed by him. I have hope though, in this area, considering that this IS a series, and assuming that he doesn't crop up as another suspect, I'll get to see the side of him I'd been initially attracted to and intrigued by. Clare's mom irritated the hell out of me, for some reason. It just bugged me how she was so... I don't know, carefree, when it came to her kids, at random points in the novel. If you realize that your son is scared and frustrated because of his involvement with the investigation, wouldn't you be more worried about him, make an attempt to get him out of his funk, support him? She was too much of a side character. As a mom, as a parent, I'd like her to have more of a role in this story, more of a power over, and a bigger CONCERN for her kids.

Being that there was no real cliffhanger, apart from wondering who Clare's going to end up with, I'm curious to see how this series will continue. What kind of bad guys will show up, relevance to the mystery of her father, and WILL SHE CHOOSE JUSTIN?? I'm excited to see how things pan out in the future!


He poked me in the shoulder blade.
And that was his mistake.
I'm willing to overlook a stupid comment here and there. But poking me? Nuh-uh. I lifted my elbow up and brought it back hard into his gut.
Frankie let out an oomph as he doubled over.
I twirled around with a sweet-as-pie smile. "Oh no. Did you catch my elbow in your stomach while I was putting my change in my pocket? Sorry, Frankie. You should learn not to stand so close to people" (3).

"I heard you and Tiffany got into a catfight over me at Yummy's," Justin announced with an overconfident grin that pissed me off.
I slammed the door behind me. "First off, I dumped a soda over head. That was it."
"Damn, a catfight sounded much hotter. I was picturing ripped shirts, exposed skin."
I rolled my eyes. "And second, it wasn't over you, egomaniac. You can date every girl in town as far as I'm concerned. I hate you. I pray every night that you'll fall victim to some strange and unusual castration accident." I pointed to the door. "So get the hell out."
His lips twitched, fighting a smile. (42) One of the rare times I actually enjoyed Clare's ferocity toward Justin.

I motioned to my two boys. "We have stuff to talk about. We're going upstairs."
Mom didn't exactly give me permission, but she knew I wasn't going to have an orgy in my room or anything. (217) There's something so very hilarious about that line.