Amy doesn't have a whole lot going for her in Seattle. She's just come out of a disastrous relationship and her friends don't believe her when she tells them how bad it was for her. She decides to try to get a fresh start by moving in with her great-aunt Mae in a little town called Rockville. Amy's been hurt so badly that it's hard for her to open up enough to even make friends. When she's out throwing sticks for the dog one day, Amy notices a band of fog at the back of the property that never goes away. She goes through the fog and meets Henry, a strangely-dressed boy who she immediately feels comfortable with. He becomes her only good friend in this little town, but no one seems to have ever even heard of him.
I just loved this, and in a way I'm surprised. There are some fantasy elements here, but this is more of a love story and that is usually not my thing at all.
No, now that I think about it, the romance wasn't even entirely the point. It's more about Amy getting past this huge hurt in her past and learning to take care of herself first. That is the kind of thing I like, and that's what the appeal was. Whew! I was afraid I was getting soft there for a minute!
I obviously read my share of YA books, but I tend to stick to fantasy. In that genre, there are tons of "bad boys" that the heroines fall all over. Now, I like me a bad boy or two, but they can't be all bad, and some of these guys I've come across are all bad. You won't really find me bashing Edward, but I found Patch from Hush, Hush to be an abusive jacka** and it bothers me that teen readers just love him. (Finally tying this in now) I'm glad to read a book that shows that abuse happens and it leaves you devastated. These themes might show up in contemporary YA books, but this is the first time I've found it in the YA I read. It is never okay for your boyfriend to slam you into a wall or to bust your lip or to pressure you into "doing it" and this book showed that without getting preachy at all. We get to see the wreckage of Amy's life in the wake of her abuse and we get to see her ex-boyfriend's behavior compared to that of Henry, an almost perfect gentleman that I couldn't help but love. I wanted to cheer when Amy says something like, "I'm looking out for myself now."
There is a very sweet romance between Amy and Henry and I liked it. It mostly left me smiling. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. There's a bit about how each of our lives affect other peoples' lives, which is something I really don't get tired of reading about, but I'm afraid that a perfectly nice character is going to get hurt and I don't know how I feel about that. It's ambiguous though, so if I think about it long enough, maybe I'll come up with a way for everyone to be happy.
If you're in the mood for a sweet love story that has quite a bit about teen girls learning to love themselves first, pick this up. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Look inside The Clearing on Amazon.
Find author Heather Davis on her website, her collaborative blog, and on HarperTeen.
Thanks to Around the World Tours for allowing me to participate in this book tour and to Holly at Writer's Block Reviews for donating it.
Review from my blog roll: Shweta's Book Journal