Book: Shine by Lauren Myracle
Published: May 1, 2011/Amulet Books
Pages: 350 pages
Where I got it: Netgalley
Buy It: Amazon
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
My thoughts: Shine is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. I am loving all of these YA books I've been reading lately that have female protagonists with such strong hearts. Cat was such a likable character because of her perseverance in discovering who hurt her best friend, Patrick. Patrick was a gay teenager who fell victim to the small town's single minded people, put into a coma during an assault involving a baseball bat and a gas pump. Just thinking about it makes my stomach turn. There were a lot of heavy themes presented in this YA book. I've never read any of Myracle's other books but I'm glad I decided to start with this one, as I've heard the others are more chick-lity and not really my style.
Shine reminded me a bit of the movie Winter's Bone in that they both feature a young girl on a personal journey in a small town, searching for answers. I felt like Shine was a journey that I was experiencing right alongside Cat as she went from person to person until she finally discovered the true story. I've never really lived in a small town but I can imagine that this is pretty accurate to how things still are in the South in many places. It's a nice wake up call for the rest of us who don't realize that bigotry is still such a prevalent issue in today's society.
While I enjoyed Shine overall, I felt like a lot of it was just okay for me. It wasn't until the interesting turn of events at the end when we find out who tried to kill Patrick and the motive behind the crime that I felt like the story was redeemed for me. It was such an emotional moment that I had to stop reading for a bit because it weighed so heavy on my heart to think about how there are people out there so twisted. There is a lot of darkness here, but there are also important lessons everyone can learn about betrayal and tolerance.
My rating: 3 stars