Book Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

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? (from

Something about the cover of this book really caught my attention. I think it was the girl’s eyes…they’re so intense, like she could see right into your soul. I also really liked the sound of the book from the synopsis too, a girl with a paranormal gift and a murder mystery..I’m in! It kind of reminded me of Lois Duncan’s book ‘The Eyes Of Karen Connors’(which I read years ago) a little and went straight on my 2011 wish list.
Clarity gets off to a fantastic start with a short first chapter where our heroine is facing death at the hands of a mysterious attacker, then quickly switches to nine days earlier. This absolutely hooked me into the story, I loved being thrown into the deep end on the very first page, then immediately snatched away from the action and desperate to know what had happened. There was little chance I was going to put the book down after that.
I really, really liked Clare/Clarity and warmed to her right away. Labelled a freak at school due to her psychic abilities she’s pretty lonely but has built up a protective and seemingly fierce and snarky shell, though quite early on we see this is just an act and deep down she has a vulnerable and compassionate streak too. I liked how she very much knew her own mind, and the way she deals with her love rat boyfriend gained my utmost respect. Despite admitting to being lonely, she comes across as a girl who’s comfortable and confident with herself, and I liked that. It was really refreshing.
One of my favourite aspects of this book was Clare’s family, who play a huge role. Both her Mother and Brother also have psychic abilities, although different to hers, and together they use them to earn a living entertaining tourists in their seaside town. While Clare is often frustrated at her occasionally over bearing Mum, they have an openness and trust with each other which was lovely to read. The sibling loyalty between Clare and her brother, Perry, was a joy too and a real highlight of the book. It was nice to read about teen characters who, while at times get irritated with each other and their parent, still really pull and work together. The Fern family are a real unit and I liked that a lot, and with their previous life hinted at I’d love to know more about their heritage.
I also thought the murder mystery was really well written. I was kept on my toes for the majority of the book, with plenty of red herrings to lead me up the wrong path. Some of the police work Clarity gets involved in might seem a little far-fetched for a teenager and not all together believable but I was willing to let it go for the sake of the story, and it actually works really well. It’s not the most thrilling or terryfing mystery and it won’t keep you up at night, but it was enough to keep me gripped, if a little tame for my usual tastes.
One thing I didn’t really like though was the love triangle between Clare, ex boyfriend Justin and new hunk on the scene, Gabriel. In all honesty it didn’t seem necessary. Despite finding out Justin cheated on Clare, I really liked him and thought their relationship would have been interesting enough. I didn’t warm to Gabriel at all and didn’t really believe there was any attraction between Clarity and he. I’m not against love triangles in general, but they have to be believable and not there just for the sake of it…which this one kind of felt like.

Overall Clarity is a nice easy read, with a fantastic leading female character and a gripping enough plot to keep you hooked without scaring you witless. At just over 240 pages it’s a quick read, one sitting if you have the time (which I did). By the end I felt that while I hadn’t been completely blown away and could have done without the half hearted love triangle, I’d enjoyed it enough. I’d definitely read more from Kim Harrington in the future and would love to know if we’re  going to find out about the interesting family of Clarity’s, which was pretty heavily hinted at, in the sequel (perception) due for release next year.

Published March 2011 by Scholastic Point (US)

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

  1. Thanks for the review. I also was impressed with the cover. Sounds good. I'm going to put it on my list.

    I'm getting tired of love triangles.

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