PERCEPTION (Clarity #2)
Available March 1st
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When you can see things others can't, what do you do when someone's watching you?
Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She's the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.
Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.
But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare's pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare's hopeful ex-boyfriend who'd do anything to win her back?
One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.
Perception returns us to the life of Clare Fern, a young woman with an extrasensory gift who, despite having such, does not allow her life to revolve around or be dominated by the paranormal. Instead, we get a very real and down-to-earth girl plagued by insecurities, family troubles, and boy drama who holds us as spellbound as any of her supernatural contemporaries. The mystery element (in this installment a stalker) is nothing new or overly surprising, with a couple red herrings appropriately placed to keep us guessing and a gradual build up of tension that erupts in an action packed conclusion, but it's well executed and highly entertaining nonetheless, woven seamlessly into the trials and tribulations of Clare’s love and home life. Ms. Harrington writes with a fluid grace, characters and events combining and conflicting with an ease that most likely defies the amount of time spent carefully crafting each sentence, and we find ourselves laughing, sighing, and holding our breath as we sit back and thoroughly enjoy the telling of a good story.
Clare is a young woman who feels utterly genuine, her snark and humor prevalent enough to keep us snorting at her one-liners but not so overdone to the point where nothing sincere spills from her mouth, and whose mature handling of various situations turns us into adoring fans for sparing us copious amounts of teenage angst. Her romantic situation with Gabriel and Justin certainly could play out in melodramatic fashion, but both Clare and the boys deal with their love triangle in a way that makes it seem like such a thing may not be as far fetched as other scenarios have made us believe. She is understandably torn between the two, but she doesn’t spend all day every day worrying over making a decision, instead she often stops, catalogs her reactions to both young men, and then realizes she has no idea what she’s feeling or what to do about it; a realization that makes us smile because we know she’s never going to resort to playing romantic games in order to more clearly define those feelings.
On the boys’ side, Justin and Gabriel both make solid cases for themselves, never giving Clare an ultimatum or set amount of time in which she needs to come up with an answer for them, and both continue their pursuit of her without ever pushing her too far. They drop hints and playfully flirt, making us laugh while they continue to confuse us as though we’re the ones caught between them, but never once does their behavior have us rolling our eyes or shaking our heads in dismay. Though the relationship between the three of them is a main element, it’s not the sole focus, and Ms. Harrington proceeds to paint us a picture with more than a single color, bringing in both superficial and more complex issues with regard to both Clare’s mom and brother Perry to give us a complete image rich in tonality that holds us transfixed.
Overall, Perception is a quick and fun read with a spectacularly tangible cast of characters who would have us lining up to move to their small summer-tourist town if it weren’t for the somewhat alarming number of dead bodies that seem to pop up there. With Clare’s romantic decision seemingly made at the end of this story, the coming months for us will be all the more difficult to bear as we wait to see both how the ensuing ripples said decision will cause in her life will play out as well as what trouble will possibly find it’s way to her doorstop next.