Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Title: A Flicker in the Clarity
Author: Amy McNamara
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release date: June 12th, 2018
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For as long as Evie can remember, she and Emma have been best friends. They’ve gone through everything together—only Evie understood what it was like for Emma to lose her older brother in a car accident. And though they couldn’t be more different—Emma is the life of the party while Evie is shy—the dynamic has always worked for them.
But then Evie makes a careless mistake that ends up having serious consequences for Emma. They’ve had their squabbles before, but this is different. When Evie tries to apologize, Emma ignores her texts, gets a new best friend, and completely freezes her out. Evie didn’t mean to betray Emma in the way that she did, and she’s desperate to get back in Emma’s good graces. Who is Evie without Emma?
Then Evie meets Theo, a kindred spirit unlike any boy she’s ever encountered. With him, she can at least pretend like her life is normal. But just as she’s about to let go and fully fall into whatever is happening with him, Emma resurfaces, miraculously letting Evie back in—though it’s not without consequence. Erratic behavior, drunken incidents, and panicked late-night calls are only some of the hoops Emma makes Evie jump through. All Evie has wanted is to get her best friend back—but Emma seems hell-bent on self-destruction. Evie is used to swooping in to pull Emma out of her troubles, but how do you help someone who doesn’t want to be saved?
A Flicker in the Clarity aims towards representing reality with all its imperfections: unresolved issues, toxic relationships, unexpected events, and the pain of heartbreak. For this, the novel gets its stars. However, I wish the novel had gone deeper. I was left wanting to know a lot more than what I got.
As far as plot goes, there isn’t one clearly mapped out. That’s why I think the book represents reality so well. We get a peek into these people’s lives and are left wondering what happened when we left them. That was positive and negative at the same time. I liked that the author didn’t force resolutions, but I also wanted to see some characters interact a lot more and be more open to each other.
The characters are presented unapologetically trying to find themselves, and I’m not only talking about the teenagers, but the adults as well. I wasn’t particularly keen on any of them, but that’s not a requirement for me to like a book. They all made mistakes; they were all flawed.
Our main character, Evie, was constantly carried away by her best friend, Emma, who was selfish and emotionally unavailable for her. It was draining to see their interactions and how heavily Emma relied on her without considering to do the same for her. All that Evie had for herself were here maps. She loved art and throughout the novel she designs and paints maps that represent her feelings or situations. It’s hard to explain and, I’m not going to lie, it was a bit strange to understand how these maps could look, but I appreciated that they served as the character’s emotional outlet.
For me, the most important theme this book handled was toxic relationships. Relationships mean having a commitment with someone, but never over your own self care. It showed well how our forgiveness doesn’t mean we are allowing ourselves to get trampled over. Still, I wish the novel had expanded more on this subject. I found the ending a little abrupt on that sense.
Amy McNamara presents here a bubble of reality and how we need to be careful with our dedication towards someone, and also how, especially for this generation, following our dreams is easier said than done considering both family and financial struggles.