Harrington, Kim. Clarity. 242 p. Scholastic Point. 2011. Hardcover $16.99. ISBN 9780545230506.
Left to my own devices, I tend not to read mysteries. Why? Lamest reason ever: when I was a teen, I was all like, OMG, my MOM reads mysteries. So OBVIOUSLY, I can't possibly. I mean, REALLY.
But as I've grown older and wiser, I've come to acknowledge that my mom is totally awesome. And so are mysteries!
Plus, it's part of my professional duty to read in a wide variety of genres so I can provide good reader's advisory to my library teens. And they absolutely devour mysteries. So when I saw an ARC of Clarity at ALA Midwinter, I had to grab it. A teen psychic helps the local police solve a murder in a small town- sounds like something both my library teens and I would enjoy!
The plot of this paranormal, contemporary mystery moves at a brisk pace, and the writing is tight, with no filler. The author has woven the mystery so neatly, with perfectly placed clues and red herrings, that the reader is kept guessing until the big reveal.
The protagonist, Clare, is one of the most awesome book characters I've come across in a while. She's smart and observant- it's totally believable that she can help solve a crime. She's also got some very relatable flaws: she's hot-tempered, impulsive, and holds a grudge. And best of all, she's funny, with one-liners that made me really and truly laugh out loud. Love her! This book's supporting characters are also well developed and three-dimensional. I particularly enjoyed Clare's mind-reading mom- can you imagine growing up with that?
The end of this book leaves room for a sequel- and one is coming, hooray! Perception is due out in March 2012. But the story in this first volume is so complete on its own, I didn't even think about the possibility of a sequel until the very end, when it became clear that the author was deliberately leaving a few plot threads unresolved. You know how, sometimes, the first volume in a series feels like it's just setting up the story for the rest of the books? Well, that's not the case here. This is an intensely fun, smart, and satisfying read.
Clarity is available in bookstores now. ARC for review provided by the publisher.