Friday, February 4, 2011

Review of Shine by Lauren Myracle

Shine by Lauren Myracle; Abrams/Amulet Books, 2011.

Sixteen-year-old Cat was sexually assaulted by her brother’s best friend when she was thirteen years old, and, afterwards, closed herself off to people. To deal with her pain, she dropped all her friends, including her best friend, Patrick, and pretended not to see “certain bad things”.

Now Patrick is in the hospital in a coma, the victim of a vicious hate crime, and Cat is left wondering who in the small community of Black Creek, North Carolina might have done it. Or could it have been some college kids stopping to buy beer or snacks at the Come ‘n’ Go, where Patrick worked? If she had still been good friends with Patrick, would she have seen the attack coming? Could she have prevented it?

Since Sheriff Doyle is only pretending to solve the crime, Cat decides she will do some sleuthing on her own. What she finds out is that underneath its surface, Black Creek is full of drugs, prejudice, and hate; people she once considered friends are hiding secrets...some of them dangerous. With the help of Jason, a college friend, and her brother, Christian, Cat discovers who beat up Patrick and left him for dead.

WOW! That is all I can say about this fabulous book! What great characters Lauren Myracle has developed. Cat is a strong, persistent heroine, braving so many of her fears to bring the attempted murderer to justice. It is through her eyes that we see the poverty, cliques, and bigotry of her town, where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business. As Cat observes her classmates, and even her brother, in a different light, the reader sees her weigh each piece of the puzzle as she uncovers it.

It was amazing how drugs and underage drinking took over so many young lives in such a small town and lay hidden underneath the surface, apparently unnoticed by its citizens. A lot of research went into this part of the story; there were drug terms I was not familiar with inserted into the plot. I appreciate the humorous details, especially those dealing with eleven-year-old Robert, brother to Cat’s friend, who always recklessly spoke his mind.

Shine is an edgy, realistic novel and a real page turner! It is due to be released on May 1, 2011. I highly recommend this book for the upper grades of high school libraries and for public libraries!

*Note…The copy of Shine that I read was an Advanced Readers Copy from