Perception, by Kim Harrington, is the sequel to Clarity, which I reviewed (and enjoyed) here. Clarity was a quick, fun read, and I jumped right into Perception the moment I put it down, anxious to hear about more of Clare’s psychic mystery-solving shenanigans.
Clarity “Clare” Fern, teen psychic, is adjusting to her newfound social acceptance after using her powers to help solve the murder of a teenage tourist over the summer. Her ex-boyfriend, Justin, has made it clear he’d like to start over, and she’s also being pursued by the dark and smoldering new detective’s son, Gabriel. In addition, the girls who previously shunned her at school are now clamoring to be her friends, with the glaring exception of arch-nemesis mean girl, Tiffany.
But as the school year starts, the air is abuzz with gossip about the recent disappearance of a girl no one really knew. Did she run away? Or was she taken?
Meanwhile, Clare starts receiving notes from a secret admirer, and Justin and Gabriel swear it’s neither of them.
Clare decides to dust off her detective skills again: to discover not only what’s happened to the missing girl, but to unveil the identity of her mysterious suitor.
Much like Clarity, Perception is an exciting, fast-paced teen mystery channeling the essence of Veronica Mars, but with psychic powers. (P.S. If you’ve never watched Veronica Mars, you really, really should).
The love triangle between Clare, Justin, and Gabriel is still a huge part of the story, even moreso than in Clarity, since the secret admirer plot line obviously places a lot of attention on Clare’s love life. I still see why she’s torn between the two of them and why the choice isn’t obvious, but I am happy to report that she does make a decision by the end of the book, and that it makes sense.
Clare was still smart and sassy, although occasionally painfully oblivious. She suffers from severe tunnel vision in some instances and misses some pretty big clues, but overall she was still an enjoyable character. And after all, she’s not really a trained detective, so it actually makes sense that she wasn’t picking up on everything.
Justin and Gabriel didn’t grow a whole lot from the first book. I still liked them both, but didn’t gain a lot of new insight into either of them. Yes, we learn a couple new things, but my opinion on both of them remained pretty much unchanged. It would have been nice to peel back a few more layers. But since I liked them in Clarity, I still liked them here.
The character who changes the most is Clare’s brother, Perry. The events of Clarity hit him the hardest, and it’s sad to see what has become of his character. While on the one hand, he is no longer the flippant womanizer of the first book (which is a bonus, in my eyes), his new personality isn’t much of an improvement. I still like him, in spite of his flaws, but he wasn’t a “fun” character in this book (and he wasn’t supposed to be). I actually really appreciated that the huge developments in Clarity didn’t just roll off his back, and that he needs to take time to process and overcome them.
As for the mysteries, I was a little less satisfied in this book than in the prior one. I felt like the clues were more obvious, and I’d figured out who the bad guy was really early in the story, despite a red herring that practically jumped up and down and screamed, “LOOK AT ME! I’M A RED HERRING!” It was still engaging and entertaining to solve the mystery alongside Clare, but didn’t have the same impact that the first book did, in my opinion.
Overall, I really enjoyed this follow-up to Clarity, and would be interested to continue reading about the mysteries that Clare solves.
Content guide: Contains violence, profanity.