Book review: ‘Clarity’ by Kim Harrington

Clare Fern is used to stomaching the dubious looks of classmates and residents of her tourist town in Cape Cod. Labeled a freak by the bullies who have taunted her since childhood, Clare works hard to ignore the skeptical looks and taunts that come with being a known psychic. With just a touch, Clare can see other people’s secrets — including ones that end in murder.

When a teen girl is found dead in a nearby hotel, the residents of Eastport, Mass., are up in arms. Like the entire town, the Fern family thrives on tourism — and depends on wealthy visitors dropping dough to stay afloat in the off-season. But everyone’s fear of losing business is nothing compared to the sadness and terror of having a murder committed in their tiny town . . . and who killed Victoria, an out-of-towner?

The situation moves from serious to grave as Clare’s brother, Perry, becomes implicated in Victoria’s death, and Clare is called in by a new detective and his handsome son to assist with the case. Still scorned but now necessary to the investigation, Clare agrees to help find the killer . . . but this case is anything but predictable.

Kim Harrington’s Clarity, a new young adult novel with a paranormal twist, kept me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning. I loved that, in contrast to so many weak-willed, boring heroines, Clare was a fiery teen unwilling to let anyone boss her around. Her psychic abilities — and everyone’s knowledge of them — made her strong, and it was her love for family that kept her grounded.

Perry, Clare’s older brother, is a pretty unlikeable dude. More interested in hooking up with tourists because there’s “no commitment” than working on anything resembling self-improvement, Perry flirts with beautiful girls as a way of coping with his psychic gift: he sees dead people. But it’s hard to hate the guy, especially because he’s so devoted to his little sister. Their bond was the strongest part of the novel — the things they would do for one another; the lengths they would go to protect each other. That resonated with me.

Though the book occasionally borders on Too Many Characters-itis territory, Harrington successfully introduced scads of people and actually made me care about them. We have Detective Toscano, a New York transplant who arrives in Eastport just before the murder. Gabriel Toscano is the detective’s son — a brooding loner who takes a shine to Clare despite his immediate skepticism of her “abilities.” Throw in Justin, Clare’s ex-boyfriend, and we have ourselves a good ol’ fashioned love triangle, friends, and I totally bought it. Furthermore, I had no idea which guy I was rooting for — they both seemed lovable in their own ways, even if Justin was once a dirtbag.

Nothing in Clarity came easy. A murder mystery at its core, Harrington threw enough plot twists in to keep me guessing until the very end. Every easy answer was eventually turned on its head, and I never saw the ending coming. But, more than anything, it was all somehow believable. I liked the Fern family and never doubted their pure intentions to help others . . . even if they used their skills to turn a profit. I mean, they’ve got to eat, right? Starla, Clare and Perry’s mother, is a single mom trying to help and protect her children. Can’t fault her there.

Fans of young adult fiction with a paranormal bent will find plenty to devour in Clarity, a novel outside my usual genre but with a haunting cover. I read it quickly and am eagerly anticipating the sequel, which is due out next year.

Just a word of caution: the story incorporates plenty of sex and violence, though not in a graphic way. Definitely mature themes better suited to older teens and adults. Steer clear for anyone younger than 14, as Harrington suggests on her website.


4 out of 5!

ISBN: 0545230500 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for my honest review

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12 thoughts on “Book review: ‘Clarity’ by Kim Harrington

  1. This sounds brilliant. I love books like this. Especially fiery main female characters. I don’t like the idea of too many characters though. I find that a struggle. However the story definitely sounds like one I would enjoy.

  2. I was pretty skeptical about this book when I read the synopsis, but after reading your raving reviews (and many others), I’m definitely going to have to give Clarity a chance!

  3. Everything here makes me think I would like this book. But I appreciate the head’s up, just in case my 13 year old thinks she needs to read it too!

  4. Oy, you. You’re tempting me to give this a try even though I feel like it won’t be for me. Stop writing such seductive reviews!

    Kidding, of course. Keep doing what you’re good at. 😀

  5. Wow… Clarity is not a book that I really had any interest in all, but then when I saw you had reviewed it, I thought I’d better investigate further. You haven’t steered me wrong yet! Thanks for always giving good tips 🙂

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