Friday, April 8, 2011


Clarity Fern doesn't have the most normal family. Around her school and to the locals, they are known as freaks because of their special abilities. She can see situations through one person's perspective by touching objects they touched. It's not always the most pleasant thing to know the secrets of many of the people around her. Her mother is a telepath and her brother is a medium. Together, they conduct psychic readings for tourists in Eastport and are doing pretty well. That is, until a tourist girl is murdered in a local hotel. Clare's ex-boyfriend entreats her to use her ability to help in the murder investigation and she reluctantly agrees. Things get complicated when Clare finds out that her brother was the last person to see the girl alive. Convinced of her brother's innocence, she works hard to solve the crime, but she also puts herself in danger. Can she catch the killer before she becomes the next victim?

When I picked up Clarity, I was expecting a cliche, angsty teen novel that would bore me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more of a murder mystery than a paranormal romance with believable, realistic characters. Clare is a great narrator and I immediately liked her from the very first page. Unlike many female protagonists in YA fiction, she isn't weak or whiny or annoying, but strong and assertive. The scene where she dumps a soda on her rival's head is truly awesome. There are many YA heroines that don't have the guts to do something like that. Her narration is filled with humor, wit, and intelligence. There is just the right balance of levity and darkness. The strained relationship with her ex-boyfriend and the arrival of the new detective's hot son are the perfect recipe for an angst ridden love triangle, but Kim Harrington surprisingly steers clear of excessive teen angst. Clare and her ex are very civil with each other. She tries to move on with her life because she accepts her inability to get past his betrayal. I am so relieved that she didn't agonize over it for any length of time. I really respect her and I think she would actually be pretty cool to meet in real life. Clare proved to be one of the most interesting and realistic heroines in all of YA fiction.

In teen fiction, any sort of mysteries are usually thinly veiled and really easy to predict. This isn't the case with Clarity. In the course of the investigation, Clare doesn't always rely on her powers, but also on her own intelligence and powers of reasoning. I had no idea about who the killer was throughout the novel until it was finally revealed. I also liked that the paranormal powers aren't completely ridiculous and overpowered. Each of their powers has its limitations and variables.

Clarity is a fast paced and enjoyable read with a kick-ass heroine and a twisty mystery. I would highly recommend this book to just about everyone.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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