Monday, June 20, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington (Book Review)

Clarity by Kim Harrington
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Pages: 242
Received: Library
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads:

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?


Hoorah! I'm dense again!

I'm usually very slow on the uptake, but lately it seems like I've seen every plot point coming from page one. Not so with Clarity! Kim Harrington threw so many possible suspects at me, and each and every one of them was believable. I was constantly on my toes and looked at everyone with suspicion. The final reveal surprised me but was still totally believable.

The paranormal parts were nice, blending seamlessly into the overall plot without overwhelming it. I liked seeing the ways Clarity and her family used their abilities, but I also liked how there were rules that restricted what they could do. Their abilities could have threatened to make the story overly simplistic (just ask the dead person who killed them! Ta da!) but the limitations Kim Harrington created kept the story from becoming too easy.

I did like the mystery and it did keep me on my toes, but I never really felt invested in the story beyond surface-level curosity. I never had that feeling of "OMG I HAVE TO KEEP READING!!!" The mystery was interesting, but it wasn't packed with action. Still, the book is very short and the pacing is steady and to the point. Almost every scene ties back to the mystery in some way, so there aren't any wasted scenes you need to slog through to get back to the main point.

I'm not sure if I like you, Clare

Clarity has an easy narrative voice that I instantly fell into. She's straight forward and didn't bore me with a bunch of internal wallowing. Which is a big feat considering how much her life sucks. Her ex-boyfriend cheated on her with her nemesis, she has a nemesis in the form of a popular mean girl, and she has no friends. None! Luckily Clare just rolls with the punches, throws a few of her own, and focuses on solving the murder mystery., sometimes I got the impression that Clarity's leper status might be her fault. Maybe she's too prickly. I wonder if people would be so cruel to her if she approached them with honey instead of vinegar. Afterall, her brother is just as much a psychic as she is, and he has friends and girls lining up to be with him. There is a tiny hint dropped about this, so I suspect this question will be expanded on further in the sequel. I think it's a seed planted, not sloppy writing.

It's a family thing

Family plays a big part in Clarity. The family business was a fun feature that, while it didn't play a huge role in the actual story, it set a stage that I loved. How cool would that job be? Though the whole mom having mind-reading powers thing could suck in real life (Could you imagine how much of a drag it would be if your mom you read your mind?). I like that Clarity's mom was a part of the story, but she seemed kind of wimpy and fragile to me. I don't like it when the kids seem to parent the parents, and that was sort of the case here.

Clarity's brother was a fun character and I couldn't help but like him...even though objectively I should be kind of disgusted by him. He's a womanizer and a suspect for murder, but I liked him. Kudos to Kim Harrington for creating a character I loved even though I would normally hate him. I hope he plays a larger role in the sequel.

I don't love you

There's a love triange here that does take up a large part of the plot. It doesn't overwhelm the mystery, but it is a constant presence. I didn't like it, mostly because I didn't like either of the guys. Clarity is such a strong character and neither of these guys seemed worth her time. She can do better.

I also found the love triangle frustrating because it doesn't have any clear winner. Now I know this is the first book in a series and it was refreshing to have a female MC who wasn't tripping all over herself for a guy, but it was dissatisfying to leave the love triangle completely up in the air at the end. Clarity doesn't make any choices in this book and there isn't anyone in the lead. Who she's interested in is as much of a mystery as the murderer (but at least we get a resolution on the murderer).

Where do we go from here?

Clarity ends nicely as a first glance. The murder mystery is wrapped up, but that's about it. Clues were dropped about Clarity's father and those clues make it sound like something big is coming with all sorts of secrets and history. Or maybe I'm reading too much into things. There was also that little clue about why Clarity doesn't have any friends that still needs closure. And of course the love triangle needs to be settled.

I don't feel a burning desire to get the next book RIGHT NOW, but I will read the sequel eventually. I like Kim Harrington's writing and the story overall was nice and to the point. Plus, I just like the idea of psychic investigators.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about Clarity that I haven't addressed? 
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Still not sure? Click here to check out the Review Comparison!

Looking for another book like this? 
You might like: 


Click on the cover to go to Goodreads.


  1. I really love Clarity and I loved that girl, but I see why you have confused feelings about her!

    I also didn't mind so much the Love Triangle, in fact the romance part didn't make the book so highly enjoyable for me. It was Clare's voice I loved so much, the setting and the mystery.

    Happy Monday :)

  2. Wow! I absolutely loved your review! You pretty much broke down every aspect of the book I could have questions about! I think I'll give Clarity a shot eventually (especially since I already have a copy on my shelf), but I might put it on the back burner for a little while. It sounds like something I should give a shot, but nothing that I should be jumping for. Thanks for the review hon!

  3. Very glad to hear that you were surprised by the big reveal because I've been noticing that in a few reads I've been able to guess it from the beginning as well.

    And yeah, that would definitely be a cool job and family business :)

    Too bad about the love triangle but other than that, I think I would really like this one!

  4. Another great review Small. I agree that the mystery part could had have more action. It never got my pulse pounding.

    The love triangle I actually liked. And like Clare have no idea who she should end up with. At this stage they are both pretty equal.

  5. This sounds good but not great. It makes it more difficult when you don't adore the main character. I often like books that aren't big page turners - slow and steady - but I also prefer to feel some deeper connection to the story. Still interested in reading the book though.

  6. I think I got this one too.
    I don't know. it sounds like Clarity might be the sticky point of this book, if I like her I will like the book if not, I won't. But she doesn't sound like someone I would like :(

    Anyhow, I should probably still give it a shot sometime down the line.


    Thanks for the review.

  7. LOL! Oh, that bothersome wallowing when your life sucks! Good to know that Clarity avoided that.

    I don't know what to do with a book in which none of the guys are appealing. Now I many never read this book! *snorts*

    Very entertaining review, as usual! Thanks Smalls!

  8. Great review! I really enjoyed this one, and the nice balance Kim created between the many different aspects. Like you, I didn't find the two main love interests that compelling -- but I'm totally on Team Nate! Don't you think they'd be good together? I hope he's more of a presence in the sequel.

  9. I wanted to read this one because of the psychic aspect of it although it's sad that Clarity didn't hit it out of the ballpark.

  10. I've heard a lot of good things about this one, and oooh, it's like TBF?! I must read it soon!!

    I love a good mystery. I wonder if I'll be able to figure it out...

  11. I liked this one quite a lot! I rather enjoyed that the love triangle is evenly matched because I think it will be interesting to see how it develops down the road. Another well written & thorough review from you. ;)

  12. How I love a good mystery! I have to admit that I've been skipping over this one because I hate the cover. I am a judgy pants. Your review changed my mind!

  13. I like a plot and story line which doesn't focus on the romance, but allows it to happen as a background story. Books with mystery and suspense are also ones which usually rate higher on my scale. This is a short book, which I enjoy - bonus! I think I will have to read this one.

    Thanks for the honest, informative review.

  14. This one definitely looks like one to check out! I love that the mystery and the suspects are easy to guess. I can't stand when it's so obvious! I'm adding this one to my list. Great review :)

  15. I really do need to get my hands on a copy of this book and soon. I might actually request the library order this one, hopefully they will. If not, I have a bday coming up and all the more to ask for giftcards. lol. Great review, thank you for sharing. :)

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung
    Don't Miss Out On My Current Giveaway!

  16. Danny, I did love Clare's voice. I like the way the love triangle was handled, but I just didn't like either of the guys enough. The mystery was great!

    Natalie, Thanks! :) That's exactly what I would say- it's totally worth a read, but you don't have to clear your schedule RIGHT NOW for it.

    Aylee, I think there was only one review I've read where the person said they could figure out the murderer. Hope you like the book! You might even like the romance.

    Nic, Thanks! Yeah, it wasn't a pulse-pounding mystery, but it had a nice steady pace to it. I'm not sure which guy of the two I'd pick for Clare either. They both have their pros and cons for me.

    Alison, I agree, it was good but not great for me. It was the perfect length and nice for what it was. Hope you like it!

    Alex, I agree, I think liking Clarity is essential. Despite her prickliness, I do overall like her and I thought she was a good narrator. Hope you like it if you give it a try!

    Missie, :P See why I don't go for the "issues" books! Clare was great though. She was all like, "Meh, everyone hates me. *Shrug* Moving on!" It was nice. There actually is a guy that isn't really in the love triangle, but I want him to be and hope he will in the sequel. And then her brother is also nice :) You might like the guys though. I seem to be in the minority on that front.

    Casey, Oh my gosh, YES!! I would totally get on board with a Clarity/Nate relationship! I hope that happens.

    Sniffly Kitty, The psychic aspect was fun. It sounds like the psychic parts will become even more of a focus in the sequel, too.

    Leanna, Yep, it reminded me of TBF with the whole paranormal ability/amateur detective part. Sadly there was no Jay equivalent for me :(

    Stalking the Bookshelves, Thanks! Though I don't love either of the guys, I do like them equally. I'm not sure who I'd choose for her.

    Logan, lol, yeah, I don't love the cover either. She looks freaky! Clare is a lot less *weird* than she looks on the cover.

    Gina, Sounds like this one hits all the marks for you! I hope you like it :)

    Julie, It's such a drag when they're obvious from the start, so it was extra awesome that I was kept guessing until the end. Hope it keeps you guessing too!

    Soulunsung, Hope you like it!

  17. Great review! I liked this one when I read it. I haven’t read many YA books with psychic characters, so it was refreshing for me.

  18. Hmmm, I've seen reviews of all kinds on Clarity. I don't have the whole OMG-I-so-need-to-read-that-now-please desire for it. But, I think it's definitely worth my time. I'm wondering which end of the love-hate spectrum I fall under. As always, I loved the review!

  19. I think Clare was protective of herself and maybe that's why we didn't get too close to her. She kept herself from us too. I loved the location simply because I live on Cape Cod (for a few more days).

    But I loved both of the boys in the love triangle. I thought Clare was a little hard on her ex. She knew he was sorry, it had been a long time and he'd done everything to show how sorry he was. I don't know how she's going to decide which one. They both seem equally good.


  20. Christie, I loved the psychic aspect. Some of my favorite parts were when the Fern family were doing readings for tourists.

    Asher, I always love seeing where my favorite reviewers fall on the love-hate spectrum of books. I'll be keeping an eye out for your thoughts :)

    Heather, I agree about Clarity. I think there's a lot more to her prickliness and lack of friends than just "she's not nice." That's one of the big reasons I want to read the sequel--to get to know her more and get under her defenses. Clare sure does have a tough decision in front of her with those guys. I didn't love either of them, but I have to admit they're neck in neck for me too.

  21. I saw some good reviews for this one and bought it, but it's still sitting in my TBR pile since I never felt like I HAD to read it. Your review seems to confirm my thought: I'll like it when I get around to reading it but there's no pressing need to get to it.

    I like that the romance doesn't seem to be a huge focal point but it's too bad there's no clear cut choice about who's better for Clare. I like to fall in love with at least one of the guys - I seem to have a soft spot for underdogs - but it seems like neither guy is a strong secondary character in this one.


It's all about friendly conversation here at Small Review :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check back again because I do make every effort to reply to your comments here.

Because I am absolutely terrible about following through with blog awards, I can't in good conscience accept any more. Thank you very much for thinking of me though!

Spam WILL be deleted. Attacks on myself or other comments WILL be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...