A Flicker in the Clarity

432p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jun. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062308344.
Gr 9 Up—Shy overthinker Evie and spontaneous party girl Emma have been best friends forever. Evie is always there when Emma needs her, including the recent passing of Emma's brother. The friendship suddenly splinters when Evie makes a split-second decision not to cover for Emma when she's out with an older man. Evie is devastated when Emma reacts by blocking her out of her life. Both are students at the competitive Bly School in Manhattan, and Evie is already stressed by the pressures of class, college applications, and finances. When she meets unschooled genius/philosopher/boxer Theo, his approach to life is a breath of fresh air. Emma comes around and starts talking to Evie again. Despite being appalled about how Emma treats Evie, readers will nonetheless be drawn into this story. It isn't a clear-cut friend breakup, but the intensity of the friendship does subside as Evie sees what has been going on a bit clearer. McNamara throws a lot at Evie—a codependent relationship, first love, witnessing a suicide attempt—but it feels like Evie still has so much to learn by the novel's close.
VERDICT Despite the work's uneven resolution, this title is a good choice for those needing emotion-filled realistic fiction. A general purchase for medium to large collections.

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