In Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle

Posted July 27, 2013 by Kim in 3 Stars, In Review / 0 Comments

In Review: Shine by Lauren MyracleShine by Lauren Myracle
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication date: May 1, 2011
Format: eBook, 380 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon
My rating:

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.

“I loved everyone who said yes to the world and tried to make it better instead of worse, because so much in the world was ugly – and just about all the ugly parts were due to humans. I counted myself among those pitiful ranks. I didn’t slam meth or get stinking drunk or go off and molest anyone, but that didn’t let me off the hook. I hid in the shadows, but hiding had the power to hurt, too.”

This book has been on my Kindle for several months – at least. I kept putting off reading it because of the difficult subject matter it dealt with. I hate reading about the worst in human beings. But, I finally decided to read it a few days ago. I finished it relatively quickly and have been thinking about how to rate/review it since the moment I finished.

I didn’t grow up in the south, but I did grow up in a very rural area in Pennsylvania. The description of rural America was spot on. (I’m generalizing here. I know not everyone who lives in the south or a rural area is a bigot.) Small towns all too often come with small minds. The setting was so-well written that I could almost identify it as home and I could believe something this truly awful potentially happening there.

The characters were very complex. I identified with Cat straight off. Her dedication to finding out who attacked her friend and bringing them to justice was so very powerful and believable for me. If, god forbid, something like this happened to one of my friends, I think I would do exactly this. She obviously grappled with the bad things from her past and how she pulled away from her friends after what happened. I loved learning about Patrick throughout the book. He was a powerful character, though he was unconscious for the majority of the book.

Ok, now the not-so-great things. I’ll try not to give anything away. Cat confronting the meth dealer? Really? I can’t imagine someone being that dumb. The big climax scene was borderline ridiculous to me. You could almost see it coming a mile away. The love story for Cat was absolutely unnecessary in my mind. The other relationships in the book were so powerful that it didn’t need that added dimension.

The thing that infuriated me beyond belief was how things were handled once the attacker’s identity was revealed. I know, I know, it took care of itself in the end, but the forgiveness and acceptance was unbelievable to me. After committing actions so reprehensible, I believe it should have been made known.

So, all in all, I really did appreciate this book. All that said, however, I think it will be a long time before I read another book about a subject quite this heavy.

About Lauren Myracle

Lauren Myracle is the author of numerous young adult novels. She was born in 1969 in North Carolina. Lauren Myracle holds an MA in English from Colorado State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. she has written many novels, including the famous IM books, ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r.

Her first novel, Kissing Kate, was selected as one of ALA's "Best Books for Young Adults" for the year 2004. It was named by Booklist as one of the "Top Ten Youth Romances" of the year, as well as one of the "Top Ten Books by New Writers." Her middle-grade novel, Eleven, came out 2004, followed by its YA sequels (Twelve, Thirteen, Thirteen Plus One).

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