Clarity by Kim Harrington

Posted March 1, 2011 by Sara | Novel Novice 2 Comments


There’s plenty to love about Kim Harrington’s Clarity, in stores today. The book tells the story of 16-year-old Clarity (“Clare”), who comes from a family of gifted individuals. Her mom’s a telepath, her older brother Perry is a medium (he speaks to the dead) and Clare is a psychic. When she touches objects, visions of the people who touched them earlier come to her — sometimes innocent visions, sometimes more sinister.

So when a tourist is murdered in her small Cape Cod town, her ex-boyfriend (the mayor’s son) and the sexy but mysterious son of the new police detective  ask her to help solve the mystery. The only problem is, the more Clare investigates, the more evidence she finds that the killer might be her own brother.

There is SO much to love about this book, but here are my top three favorites:

1. The Setting

I’ve never been to Cape Cod or the Northeastern United States. Reading Clarity, however, I felt like I was there. Talk about a cheap vacation!

Harrington writes in such a way that you feel completely transported. While reading Clarity, I forgot that I was in rainy, drippy Oregon. That it was cold and dreary February. I felt like I was in the warm, sunny, summer hot spot of Cape Cod.

I could see myself on the boardwalks and beaches described on every page. I could taste the cotton candy and pizza. I could smell the salty sea air, hear gulls cawing overhead. It’s a true gift when a book can take you out of your world and make you feel fully immersed in another; Clarity accomplishes this with gusto.

2. The Intrigue

“Law & Order” writers of the world, take note. This is how you write a great crime mystery … you know, one that’s interesting and different and not predictable 20 minutes into an episode.

Much in the style of Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder series, Clarity is framed by a gruesome crime thriller. It’s a case of whodunit executed at its very finest.

The mystery grabs you from page one — with a cloaked peek at the book’s upcoming climax. The scene is violent and dangerous and gripping and will instantly pull you in, and keep you turning the pages until you find out what the heck is going on and who is this mysterious killer and who is that boy on the floor next to her!!! The mystery continues to unfold as the book continues, with layer upon layer building to the story’s conclusion. It’ll make putting the book down very difficult!

3. The Characters

A story is only as good as it’s character, and Clarity delivers high notes on both. I absolutely adored the characters in this book and can’t wait to spend more time with them in the sequel (out next year). Clare is a spunky heroine, with a sarcastic sense of humor and a unique outlook on life. It’s wonderful to watch her interact with her charming and caring brother, and their kooky, down-to-earth mother.

Then, there are Clare’s two potential paramours: Justin, the cheating ex-boyfriend, who may not be as big of a jerk as you might think. And Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new police detective, with some mysterious darkness in his past and a few jerk-like tendencies of his own. Both are intriguing characters — with layers and depth you don’t always find in YA romantic foils. I’m never quite sure which one I like more, but that makes watching both of them work together with Clare all the more interesting.

These main characters are all rounded-out nicely with a colorful and creative cast of supporting characters — like the mysterious Madame Maslov, the aspiring trepid reporter Nate, the obnoxious Frankie and the cold-then-hot Stephen, plus many others.

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So if you want a nice little getaway from reality — a vacation to Cape Cod; a crime thriller to solve; some romantic flirting — go pick up your copy of Clarity today. It’s an excellently-written, multi-layered look at the mysteries of a murder, a gifted teen and the complexities of young love.

Sara | Novel Novice
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