Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shine ~ Lauren Myracle review

Amulet Books
May 1, 2011
376 pages

When her best friend, Patrick falls victim to a hate crime, Cat isn't content to sit back and let their small town sheriff handle the investigation (what little there seems to be), instead, she's going to find the perpetrator.

While the police are sure it's an outsider, someone outside of their tiny town of Black Creek, North Carolina, Cat thinks someone they know did it - and she's determined to find out who.

With Patrick in a coma, Cat will talk to friends she hasn't spoken to in years, eavesdrop on everyone she can and, inadvertently, put her self in danger as she tries to find out who beat her friend and left him for dead outside the gas station.

Shine is a fantastic boo that addresses a topic that is much, much to seldom addressed in fiction, much less this well. Myracle manages to write a novel not only about bullying (in its almost severest, cruelest form) but also about homophobia and yet neither topic is forced or done in a way that the book feels like a PSA or that it's pushing an agenda of any kind.

The characters are all complex, richly developed and ones that near any reader would be thrilled to read a novel about even if the main plot point of this novel were completely different. If this were just a novel about Cat and her hometown, about her summer, it would still be good if only for the characters and their complexities.

But it's not just that. It's also a rich story about the interaction between the characters, their flaws, the secrets we all have, the darkness and the quest to to be better and how that all manifests itself.

All of this is mixed with the bits of charm of Cat's Southern upbringing, her aunt's view's on a meal, her garden and the way people from the different towns see each other. Everything, somehow, all pulled into a whodunit of a mystery, too.

Shine is a novel masterfully written about incredibly relevant topics that will leave you wanting to make sure you're not only letting your light shine, but sure other's are able to lets their shine as well;


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