Paranormal/Mystery, 242 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Scholastic Point
Someone - and I can't remember who - recommended this to me because they said that Clarity (the character) reminded them of Veronica Mars. And I am a leeetle obsessed with that show. Until said comparison, I actually had no intention of buying this. Couldn't tell you why, I was probably just burned out on the glut of YA paranormal books out there, but I just assumed that if I ever decided to read this, it would be a library grab. But no. There was a V Mars comparison, and that meant that I clicked over and bought it that night. And I'm glad I did.
Though I think this book doesn't have quite the sparkle of Veronica Mars, and it's not quite at that level of this-is-perfect-I-want-to-be-this-when-I-grow-up, it certainly does invite the comparison (which equals a win for anyone who loves a smart and sassy character). I truly liked Clare and the intro into her life. I liked the family element - and the family business - and the small town that goes crazy with tourist season; I liked Clare's relationships with her mom and man-whoring yet lovable brother, and her realizations and suspicions about his actions; I liked Clare's outcast status that became a bit less-so as the book went on - it all just worked together for me so that even when it wasn't completely believable, it was still thoroughly enjoyable. Add to that the fact that it's a fairly trim book and a definite quick read, and it made for the perfect fun bit of escapism. Harrington's style doesn't take effort to read - and I don't mean that as an insult, like it's too simple or not taken to the next level; I just mean that she's got Clare's voice down cold, and it reads effortlessly, drawing you along and keeping you entertained.
One thing that was a really pleasant surprise is that it actually kept me guessing. I had suspicions of course, but the thing is - I had a lot of suspicions and I kept going back and forth with who I thought just had to be the guilty party. It's a rarity for me to not figure out, with absolute assurance, any mystery within the first 1/4 of a book. That's why I don't read mysteries. Even if it's still sometimes fun seeing it all unfold and waiting with bated breath for everything to come to a crisis, the whole point of a mystery is the doubt that you have, and the suspicious thoughts you find yourself having about everybody. In this case, I really was having those suspicious thoughts about just about everybody. But it wasn't because the groundwork hadn't been laid and everything was up in the air. It's just that there was enough mystery and enough self-doubt on Clare's part that the reader was able to get caught up in it and doubt their own judgement, too. I love that. It's what a mystery should be. And the paranormal aspects just enhanced this. It didn't feel like it was too much of a stretch and it was worked in so as to amp the tension but not make me roll my eyes, which = impressive.
Yes, of course there were times were I felt like it was a little wish-fulfillment-y. There was a rough patch in the middle where I felt it tread a little close to typical, predictable YA, but for the most part, it was in such minor ways that it didn't really bother me. And yes, things are sometimes too convenient, and Clare has too many people pursuing her (in the true lurve way, not the homicidal maniac way, though...) for it to be believable. Or, if not believable then relatable, I guess. And yeah, there probably aren't any 16 year olds who would get to or even could do the things Clare gets to do. But that didn't stop me from loving Veronica Mars, and it didn't stop me from enjoying every minute of this book.
I feel like I've been really inarticulate through this whole review, but that's really all I can say. It's just a book that I just fully enjoyed that I hand't even planned on reading, and I love it when that happens. I often recommend Paranormalcy as the perfect funk-breaker because of the tone and the enjoyable way it reads, and I think this one is now going to be added to that list. This a great quick read that kind of livens you up and entertains above all else, and I loved that. Perception is being added to the wishlist for sure (no cajoling from forgotten friends necessary).
Oh yeah, and I did an interview with Kim Harrington =D
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