Thursday, May 19, 2011

ARC Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle

Author: Lauren Myracle
Publication: Amulet Books (May 1, 2011)

Description: When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice. 

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

My Thoughts: This was a fascinating story about a 16-year-old girl overcoming trauma to help a friend. It was a great coming of age story. Cat has withdrawn from friends and family. She was attacked by a friend of her brother's when she was 13. She feels her brother and her aunt abandoned her. 

When she was younger, her best friend was Patrick. They were together all the time. They spent time doing kid things and hanging out with Patrick's grandmother Mama Sweetie. Cat knew Patrick was gay but it didn't have any effect on their friendship. They banded together to protect each other from the bullies. After Cat was attacked, she abandoned Patrick too.

Because Patrick was attacked and left for dead in a hate crime, Cat has to rejoin life and investigate. Her investigation leads her to all kinds of secrets -- drugs, abuse, homophobia, betrayals of all sorts. But she is determined to find out what happened to her friend. 

It was wonderful to see Cat come out of her shell and take charge of her life. I liked her perseverance and determination. I understood her difficulty with trusting again after being betrayed. I liked how she gradually reached out to try to rebuild relationships that she had abandoned. 

The setting played a big part in this story. Cat's town was poor and depressed. There was a real hopeless feel to it. So many of the adults and kids seem to have given up. Her father was a housebound alcoholic; her aunt was determined to ignore anything that contradicted her view of her world. Mama Sweetie was a shining example of hope and optimism but died of diabetes leaving her grandson Patrick alone to get along as best he could at a young age. 

I would have liked to know more about Patrick from his own viewpoint. From Cat's point of view he was an amazing person. It was interesting to see how Patrick had influenced the lives of so many of the young people in the town. I liked Cat's relationship with the various members of the "redneck posse" which is what she calls her brother and his friends. 

I recommend this story to young adults who like a mystery and who like stories where good eventually triumphs over evil.

Favorite Quote:
So I'd stabbed needles into my eyes and pretended not to see certain things. Bad things. Only by turning my back on certain bad things, I ended up turning my back on my dearest friend, a betrayal I never intended.

Or so I told myself. That was the problem with lying to yourself. Sometimes you got too good at it.
I got this book from NetGalley for review. You can get your copy at Amazon in hardcover or for the Kindle.


  1. Loved this book! The day after I finished it, I was reliving the ending in my head as I was driving home from work. Very rarely is a book so vivid in my mind that I re-live entire scenes after I've finished reading.

  2. This sounds fabulous - adding to the wishlist AGAIN :D


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