Book Type: Softcover
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Range: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 12, 2010
Amy, a sixteen-year-old recovering from an abusive relationship, moves to the country to start a new life with her aunt–all she wants is for everything to be different. In the clearing at the back of Aunt Mae’s property, she makes an amazing discovery Henry, a boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944. Henry and his world become Amy’s refuge and she begins to learn that some moments are worth savoring. But when the past and present come crashing together, both of them must find the courage to face what is meant to be, even if it means losing each other forever.
If I could describe The Clearing with just one phrase it would be: A Huge Disappointment. The Clearing narrates the story of Amy and Henry in their respective POV. Amy just moved to a small town with her aunt after going through a dysfunctional relationship while Henry has been living an endless summer for 66 years. Even though the novel is well written there are certain aspects that are worked in a very simplistic way for my taste, and I explain:
*Disclaimer: There could be some spoilers.
Character’s Voices: Jumping POVs between Amy and Henry was not very distinctive as a reader I couldn’t find that unique element which defines each character’s voices.
Amy’s Conflict: Amy’s strife to end the vicious cycle she was involved with her ex boyfriend was not so credible: she was “afraid” of spending time with Jackson, but on the other hand, she was not afraid going to inhabited clearings at random hours to meet some unknown boy. This is one of the aspects that ruined the story for me considering Jackson is one of the best characters in the story and it was sad seeing how Amy took him for granted to the point of ruining special occasions without thinking about Jackson feelings. It’s even funnier that Jackson was always willing to come back for more rejection.
Time Traveling and World Building: Time Traveling characteristics of the story are a mystery for me and though I admire Davis originality in such aspect, I would have liked more elaboration on the matter. Not having Henry’s family noticing they’ve been living the same day for 66 years makes it a very superficially elaborated idea without any deep element.
My favorite characters are Jackson and Mae. Both have the spark of being those who love unconditionally. The most meaningful part for me is when Henry understands that he needed to move FW for good or worse. Sadly, even though the end is cute, it was a little hard to believe. I could not understand how just one unmeaning action in the past could change Amy’s life, her story “future” present 180 degrees. The end seems drastic but it appears to be open to possibilities for a second. If The Clearing would have been developed in its full potential, it would have been a hit for me sadly it wasn’t.