Perception by Kim Harrington
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Genre: Fantasy / Mystery
Hardcover: 288 pages
Release date: March 1, 2012
Series: Clarity #2
Source: Scholastic for review
Reviewed by: Tynga
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.
Clarity’s close encounter with a killer during the summer brought her something she never had: instant popularity. Mind you, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds because even though people suddenly want to be around her, they aren’t really interested in her, with the exception of Mallory, an unexpected and awkward friend. Having the murderer behind the bars doesn’t mean Clare’s little town is now in peace. A girl is missing and even though the police won’t investigate because she is 18 years old, her mother is convinced that she’s dead and Clare would love to help, but at what cost?
Perception was a great sequel to Clarity and even though there is still a strong mystery element, I thought the vibe was different. Clarity had more action with Clare actively investigating the murders and the bodies pilling up, whereas Perception was more on an intellectual level. Clare deals with a secret admirer/stalker and there isn’t much she can do but worry. She also can’t investigate the girl’s disappearance but tortures herself about it the whole time. Perry, Clare’s brother, is also acting strangely, adding to her anxiety. For all of those reasons, Clarity spends a lot of time in her head, trying to put the puzzle pieces together and even if it’s very different from the first book, it was still a fast and entertaining read.
The not-really-love-triangle from the first novel morphed into a full blown love triangle in Perception. Because of what happened in Clarity, our hero considers getting back together with Justin, but is very attracted to Gabriel, so she is torn between to two boys, both waiting for a yes to jump in. The drama surrounding Clare’s love life takes a bigger place in this novel and I was glad that she ended up taking a decision. Too often love triangles drags for too long, and I’m really happy it’s not the case here.
The plotline took the form of a crescendo, slowly ascending to the big conclusion. Information pile up as the story progresses and nothing really makes sense until the big final reveal. Even when the hero, and you, think all is figured out, you are still missing the big picture. Kim Harrington really did a good job knitting her mystery together while keeping us in the dark. An aspect I really liked is that while Clare isn’t really actively investigating her stalker nor the kidnapping, clues are sprinkled along the way, but you don’t know they are clues until the end: very original!
The end was heart-pounding and very unexpected. I confess, I finally guessed who the killer was a bit before his/her identity was revealed but I liked the way the scene played out. I was also happily surprised by the unlikely hero who saved the day! I don’t know if there are plans for a third book in the series, but it would be interesting to know how everything will change now.
Perception was a great sequel, if somewhat different from the first book. Clare stayed true as she learnt more about herself and evolved when facing challenges. Her friendship with Mallory was really an eye opener for her and even if I was quick to judge, right along with Clare, this relationship allowed our girl to grow. Fans of the first book won’t be disappointed!