In this bittersweet romance, two teens living decades apart form a bond that will change their lives forever.
Amy is drawn to the misty, mysterious clearing behind her Aunt Mae's place because it looks like the perfect place to hide from life. A place to block out the pain of her last relationship, to avoid the kids in her new town, to stop dwelling on what her future holds after high school. Then, she meets a boy lurking in the mist--Henry. Henry is different from any other guy Amy has ever known. And after several meetings in the clearing, she's starting to fall for him.
But Amy is stunned when she finds out just how different Henry really is. Because on his side of the clearing, it's still 1944. By some miracle, Henry and his family are stuck in the past, staving off the tragedy that will strike them in the future. Amy's crossing over to Henry's side brings him more happiness than he's ever known--but her presence also threatens to destroy his safe existence.
‘The Clearing’ hooked me from the first page and wouldn’t let me go until the last. A far cry from the usual vampire-infested YA that seems to be most of what’s on offer today, it chronicles the relationship that develops across the ages between Amy, spending her senior year in her great aunt Mae’s small town to escape the memory of an abusive relationship, and Henry, living with his family in their farmhouse where it’s always the summer of 1944.
I liked the very neutral, understated cover; I think it gave just enough of a hint of the story without imposing too much of an idea of the characters on me, therefore letting me form my own images in my mind. I always appreciate that opportunity; there’s nothing worse than having your created images warped by the cover model, especially when the cover model looks nothing like the character in the book!
The pace was perfect, giving Amy and Henry just enough time apart to make me anxious for more interaction before rewarding my patience. The narrative never dragged, and I liked how the main plot, detailing Amy and Henry’s relationship, and the subplot, featuring Amy in her own time, were radically different. It really helped solidify the idea of her experiencing two very different times.
I really felt a connection for the two main characters; despite what she’d been through, Amy was never too dramatic or cautious. Her behavior was always reasonable and I think that made her feel very real to me. Her relationship with her great aunt Mae was also well balanced and realistic, and Mae was a character I really liked; always supportive, but not overly so in a way that would make her seem fake. Amy’s friends in the ‘real world’, Lori and Jackson, were also likable and fun. Jackson in particular earned a high opinion from me for being a genuinely nice guy.
On Henry: there’s not a lot I can say apart from the fact that he was just perfect—always a gentleman, hopelessly sweet, and the 1940’s stream of consciousness that ran through his mind was just the right mixture of quaint and cute. His mother had the occasional very funny moment, and I really respected his grandfather; he might be old, but as the story went on you realized that he was pretty sharp for his age.
Without giving too much away, I can say that the ending to this story was wholly satisfying, even if you’d rooted for a different one. Like most things about the story, it made a lot of sense—a welcome feeling when most of what you’ve been reading is fantastical and paranormal. In conclusion: Congratulations to Heather Davis for a job well done. 'The Clearing' is a beautiful love story that will keep a smile on your face for a long time.