Shine Lauren Myracle
Release: May 1, 2011
Hardcover: 359 Pages
Publisher: Amulet Books
My Copy: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon
Shine chronicles the aftermath of a vicious hate crime in rural North Carolina. 16 year old Patrick, a gay teen, is beaten and left for dead and the perpetrators have not been found. Patrick is now in a coma and his best friend, Cat, wants to find out who is responsible.
Shine is told from Cat's perspective. She is 16, and has a shameful secret that causes her to almost completely withdraw from the world. But upon hearing of Patrick's beating, she begins to reemerge on a quest to find justice for Patrick. The plot is laid out like a mystery novel but ultimately the story is about Cat's coming of age.
The backdrop of Shine is life in a poor, rural area. There is high unemployment, rampant drug addiction, clannish families, secrets and intolerance. I felt Myracle captured it in a very compelling and realistic way. You could feel the desperation in the character's situations.
This book is also beautifully written. Cat is such a real character. I really understand her pain, her struggles, her anger, her forgiveness. While I figured out who attacked Patrick well before Cat did, I don't think that is the central point to the novel. I really felt Cat's redemption is the best part of the novel.
The ending may leave some people dissatisfied. I am ok with it because it is realistic. Not everything ends in a happily ever after and I think it a fitting end to the story. But this isn't to say the book isn't uplifting either! There is plenty to take away from the character's journeys.
I highly recommend this book! Especially since the author has a wonderful way of writing very real and human characters - something that is lacking from a lot of young adult novels. Shine will not disappoint you on that end.