Kim Harrington Clarity
256 pp. Point (Scholastic Inc.) 2011 ISBN: 978-0-545-23050-6
Full Disclosure: Received ARC at NCTE
Summary (From the publisher): 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?
Clarity grabbed my attention on the very first page and never let go. “You don’t want to kill me,” I said. “Of course I don’t, Clare. But I have to.” This is how chapter 1, page 1 starts. Yep, attention grabbed. I started this book during SSR with my freshmen, and I was so intrigued that I read the first chapter to my kids when SSR was done. Their response? “Whoa, that’s intense!” and “Are you going to put copies of that on your shelf, Mrs. Andersen?” You bet I am!
It’s so refreshing to read a fun, YA mystery like Clarity. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a real mystery. And yes, Clare has paranormal abilities–she’s clairvoyant–but that’s not the sole focus of the novel. And I like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good paranormal story, but this has just the right amount to mix in with the mystery. I’m predicting that Clarity is going to be a hot book choice among my students.
Clare is easy to relate to and very likable. She’s trying to get over a first love and broken heart, she’s kind of a loner, and she’s crushing on the new detective’s son. Plus, she’s incredibly close with her paranormal brother and mom, which is a big win with me. I understand why most YA protagonists have some kind of issue with their family members, but it’s nice to read a story where the main character is close with her family. Not every teen needs to be far away from her parents or siblings. That being said, Clare isn’t always thrilled with the choices her brother makes and when her mom reads her thoughts.
I can see Clarity being added to YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers; I already know I’ll hand this to my reluctant readers–boy or girl. I definitely suggest you add this to your TBR list!