The Clearing

The ClearingThe Clearing by Heather Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5/5 stars
Author: Heather Davis
Genre: YA romance
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Year of Publication: 2010

Main Character: Amy (I don’t recall her having a last name, actually.)
Secondary Characters: I liked the secondary characters well enough. They were all distinct and nicely developed.
Pacing: Average. It took a bit for the book to pull me in, but most are like that anyway.
Accuracy of Publisher’s Synopsis: Very accurate, except that the blurb on the copyright page states that Amy is sixteen, which is not very likely, as she’s in her senior year.
Resolution: I suppose that what happened was what was supposed to happen, but I still cried anyway. I’ve only cried over a couple of other books, so I wasn’t expecting that from this one. I only wish there had been a tad bit more to the last couple of pages. I wanted more closure, especially on Henry’s end.

The Good: This was such an unassuming book. I picked it up at a dollar store, and so I didn’t expect much. Once I got into the main action, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Davis started with a unique premise and created two compellingly real characters. Normally, I find the problems of main characters in YA to be trifling and their reactions to be dramatic, but this plot was much deeper. A story like Henry and Amy’s transcends time and place; they could have been any two people anywhere. There was just something so magical and special about this book. Henry’s family and their little pocket of summer were charming, even against the backdrop of World War II. I especially liked that the historical aspect enhanced, rather than overwhelmed, the main plotline. Davis didn’t overstep or try to make this book something it wasn’t meant to be. It is nearly perfect the way she wrote it. Amy’s experiences are realistic and relatable, while the lessons she learns have gravity. Henry’s struggle between family and fate is heartrending, but his ultimate decision offers him freedom from his guilt.

The Not-So Good: I didn’t care much for some of Amy’s friends in town, and I had no respect for her mother and Pete. What kind of parent moves states without their child, who is still a minor? *Spoiler Alert* I was so hoping that Henry would just beat the tar out of Matt when he showed up. That would have been satisfying. And Amy’s lack of memory about Henry in the last few pages broke my heart.* End Spoilers*

Overall Impression: This book is a succinct coming-of-age story with enough depth for readers of any age to enjoy. The burdens Amy and Henry bear are onerous, yet universal in nature. This book encourages strength of character and emphasizes the importance of pushing onward in spite of our misgivings and fears.

Would I recommend it? I would absolutely recommend this book. It is brimming with important topics such as recovering from abusive relationships, coping with moving on, accepting your fate, and allowing yourself to make the right choice despite the pain that comes with it.

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