Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle
Source: Hardcover, Published May 1st 2011 by Amulet Books
Verdict: Very Good/Excellent
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.
From the voice of main character Cat to all of the surrounding characters, Myracle weaves a story that is part coming-of-age, part mystery, and entirely dark, gritty and realistic. At the root of the story we have sixteen year old Cat who is trying to come to grips with the brutal beating of her estranged best friend Patrick. Patrick lies in a coma- likely to never wake up- after being left for dead at his place of work. The town police have it pinned as a hate crime done by out-of-towners, but Cat feels in her gut that the beating was done by someone in her small and poverty stricken town. To add more insidiousness to Patrick’s attack: as one of the few gay teens in their small and churchgoing town, Patrick had already endured more than his share of homophobic slurs, insults, and violent transgressions.
Cat begins a determined and often-terrifying journey to find out what happened the night of Patrick’s beating. As she winds her way through interviewing the major players that saw Patrick the evening he was beaten, she begins to unravel disturbing histories of her town while piecing together tiny slivers of Patrick’s life and what happened before their estrangement.
Shine is an explosive story with characters and a conclusion not to be forgotten.