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It is a collection of novels that I recommend for IR and YA readers and for all of our inner children. Since I write young adult fiction of a macabre nature, I gravitate towards authors who cover similar terrain. I have included the first lines of each book for I fervently believe that there is nothing more important in a novel, save fulfilling the promise of those carefully honed first words. May they enrich you in their storytelling, inspire you in their battles between right and wrong and most importantly, keep you up nights. -S.E.
PERCEPTION by Kim Harringon
Want to talk about something spooky? How about the infamous sophomore effort, be it a novel for writers or an album for musicians, it haunts the artist. If you come out of the gate making a wicked awesome red velvet cupcake how can you be expected to wow your fan base with green velvet.
Perception is the second novel in YA paranormal romance author Kim Harrington’s Clarity series. The first book (reviewed here) has Clarity Fern, a psychic who can see a person’s past through touched objects, and her equally gifted Mom and brother search out a killer with the backdrop of a bustling coastal town on Cape Cod. It also has Clare deal with being ostracized by teen society and juggle an emerging romantic triangle.
In her second outing Claire is playing super sleuth again but things have changed in her life. The hounds of her affections, his cheatin' heart Justin and hunkalicious Gabriel, are still there but she has new found fame to deal with and a potential stalker. Kim, having a successful first novel and adoring fans, can relate to Claire’s predicament and Claire’s voice with its barrage of sympathetic questioning proves it out.
From the boardwalk salt water taffy of summer to the caramel apple of Fall in New England this breezy read does miss the sunny tourist season of the debut. Also, you don’t have to be psychic to foresee some of the plot reveals. My tastes would have preferred a little more "para" in with the "normal" but the author admirably aims for something different this time out.
In truth, to compare the two books is like comparing caramel apples to orange taffy. Here Clare relies on her humanity far more than her powers, the paranormal taking a back seat in her emotional roller coaster Autumn. The strength she has to conjure is powers we all possess. She takes chances in her social life to various degrees of success and dismal failure. Here is where the real fear lives. Even scarier is the real monster, the boogieman in the dark, the fine art of bullying in all of its guises. The novel is a study of the cause and effect, how the bullied can become bulliers, how the process brings people to perform desperate acts, and how elusive true friendship is. Now that’s scary!
THINK: TV's Dangerous Minds meets Film's Mean Girls.1st LINE – “I stepped forward with forced confidence.”