Perception: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Perception by Kim HarringtonClarity “Clare” Fern thought things would go back to normal for her once summer ended. Except it’s not so easy for people to forget the psychic girl who helped solve a murder and clear her brother’s name during the tourist season in their Cape Cod town.

Back at school Clare is getting a lot of unwelcome attention from the student body. Not to mention more attention than she can handle from ex-boyfriend Justin and new guy Gabriel Toscano. Both want to be more than friends. Too bad Clare isn’t as certain of her own feelings yet.

As Clare tries to navigate her new-found celebrity, she also starts getting unexpected notes from an unidentified sender. Could it be someone Clare knows? A shy secret admirer? Or is it something much more sinister in Perception (2012) by Kim Harrington?

Perception is Harrington’s sequel to her debut novel Clarity.

Set during Cape Cod’s off season, Perception  lacks some of the excitement found in Clarity even as Harrington shines a light on Clare’s more typical day-to-day life. Though the narrative often refers back to the first book, Perception explains enough to be able to stand on its own without much difficulty.

All of the characters readers loved from the first book are back. Unfortunately so is Clare’s unfortunate love triangle. While Justin and Gabriel both remain likable, Clare’s vacillation throughout the novel grew tiresome–particularly when to some readers her choice will be obvious from early chapters.*

Much like the love triangle, the mystery aspect of Perception felt a bit obvious as well. While some parts of the story will keep readers on their toes other twists will be guessed early on.

Clare and her family develop a lot over the course of Perception leading to a novel whose strength lies in its characterizations. That said, Perception continues the story of a spunky, clever heroine in a fun mystery sure to leave readers smiling.

*Happily, the love triangle is resolved to some extent at the end of the story so hopefully Clare, Justin and Gabriel can all move on to other things when Harrington writes another Clarity novel.

Possible Pairings: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison, Slide by Jill Hathaway, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Clarity: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Clarity by Kim HarringtonSixteen-year-old Clarity “Clare” Fern is used to getting weird looks from neighbors, being teased and even downright bullied by the other kids in town. It’s all part and parcel with being “gifted.”

Clare’s a psychic, her brother Periwinkle “Perry” Fern is a medium. Their mother is a telepath. In the small town Eastport on Cape Cod the Ferns ply their trade with readings to entertain visitors. Tourists love them. Townies, not so much.

Clare is expecting a typical summer in Eastport tied to the family house helping her mother with readings during the busy tourist season. Things get a bit more complicated when a girl is found murdered at the local motel.

Clare doesn’t want to get involved, especially not when her ex-boyfriend asks her to. Unfortunately when her brother becomes the prime suspect, saying no isn’t an option.

Working with Gabriel, the new detective’s hot son, Clare delves into the secrets and fears of the dead girl’s past. But the more Clare learns about the dead girl, the more evidence starts pointing to Perry in Clarity (2011) by Kim Harrington.

Clarity is Harrington’s first novel.

This book really does have it all including humor, suspense and a surprise ending (not to mention an opening for more books about Clare–yay!). Mysteries are not the hot thing in young adult literature right now so it was exciting to find this one. Yes, conclusions were drawn prematurely but the plot still finished with a shocking twist.

Harrington strikes a good balance here between mystery conventions and character development, not to mention her beautiful descriptions of Eastport that will make readers eager to plan their own Cape Cod vacation. Clarity truly is a delectable read combining a traditional mystery plot with just a pinch of romance and a strong dose of the supernatural to make a refreshing, totally unexpected story.

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver, The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White