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.
Why I Read This:
Random pick from the library shelves.
I hadn't expected to pick up Shine by Lauren Myracle. I had previously read TTYL and not enjoyed it at all. So when I found myself taking this one off the library shelves, sitting down to see what it was all about, and not being able to stop thinking about it, it really surprised me.
The story is a beautiful testament to the shame that homosexual teens go through in small rural towns all around North America (the story is set in US, but I can see this happening in Canada too). Not only feeling the need to lie to everyone around them but even those that feel comfortable with their sexuality will still have to deal with the way society treats them. In this case, when Patrick gets attacked and ends up in a coma, the Sheriff's only lead is a *guess* that it was a group of homophobic college kids from out of town. How sad is it, and what does that say about society when beating up a random kid because he's gay is the best explanation the Sheriff can come up with? Now, of course Cat thinks the Sherrif is just trying to protect his own citizens. Cat thinks one of them are the more likely suspect and tries to investigate for herself.
I really enjoyed the mystery element to the story. Cat's chase around town made for an interesting character study of small town rural people. I'm not sure how accurate it is. I have only ever lived in the city and don't live in America either. That is the hardest part for me - figuring out if the story is realistic or not. I know that I enjoyed it and thought Lauren Myracle did a beautiful job here trying to give a story that we might all recognize in some way yet throwing in twists and turns to make it all more interesting. I do have a hard time placing it though I have seen many rave reviews for this one and would say to go ahead and try it out if it sounds like your kind of thing. It is definitely a book that will get you thinking and will make you keep picking it up.