Published by Amulet Books
Pub Date: May 1st 2011
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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 moment I started this book, I knew I’d better make myself comfortable. There was no way I was getting up before I finished it.
The book begins describing the awful crime done to Patrick, Cat’s once best friend. She hasn’t spoken to him since she was 13, when Cat suffered a traumatic experience herself. She closed herself off from the world and stopped talking to all of her friends, including Patrick, who until that point had always been at her side. Patrick then started hanging out with the guys in town that Cat hates, she calls them “the redneck posse”. They are mean and make fun of Patrick for being gay, but still, he sticks around.
Now, three years later, Patrick is in a coma, and nobody is doing much to try and find out what happened to him. Everyone, including the town sheriff, is convinced that it was done by out-of-towners and there’s little to no hope in finding them. But Cat suspects it was done by people in town, specifically his group of friends. Cat decides that being a ghost has lasted long enough, and that maybe if she hadn’t cut-off her relationship with Patrick this never would have happened. She takes it upon herself to find who is responsible.
Cat’s journey to find the perpetrator is not easy. In this small, tight-knit community people don’t often tell on each other. She often puts herself in dangerous situations to try and get any kind of leads. I admired her determination and strength, which didn’t come easy for her. She has been a shell of a girl up until this point and watching her breakout into her own person was really great to read.
On top of this, Cat also discovers the struggles her childhood friends are having with drugs. She never suspected that it was such a problem in her town. It’s painful to read and see how hard it is for some of them. While some are trying to get better, others are spiraling deeper and deeper.
When the unlikely perpetrator is discovered, I was so incredibly saddened. Mind you, I suspected who it was before the reveal, and yet it didn’t take away from the blow once it was out. When Cat is trying to get to him before he does any more damage, I was literally biting my nails. It was suspenseful! And I was so scared of the outcome.
I thought the ending of this book was incredibly touching. Lauren Myracle had me in tears. I’m definitely adding Shine to my list of favorites. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking book with some mystery, suspense, and a lot of heart, this is the book for you. Trust me, it’s not one you want to pass up.