Author: Lauren Myracle
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.Cat has spent most of her life shutting people out from it. And that includes her childhood best friend Patrick. When Patrick is the victim of a terrible hate crime, Cat takes it upon herself to find out who did it.
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. [via GoodReads]
Although I was a bit suspicious about this story at first, I really took a liking to Cat. I was worried that I wasn't going to enjoy a story touching on so many sensitive subjects (i.e. hate crimes, racism, substance and sexual abuse, etc). Nonetheless from the first moment I heard Cat's voice I was captivated. Cat is the brightest thing in this story. She literally shines. I especially enjoyed how through Cat we are able to capture her small, southern town, its residents, their beliefs, etc. Each of the characters introduced in this story were multi-dimensional. They each had their own story lines and I liked how they slowly developed throughout the story.
Ms. Myracle has a way with words. She masterfully captures the rural south - depicting a lot of its darker sides - the poverty and drug issues. The mystery revolving around Patrick's crime was superbly crafted. I was suspicious of everyone and could only get more and more frustrated as no one seemed to care enough to find out who committed the crime. I was on an emotional roller coaster as Cat not only tried to discover who hurt her friend but also as she came to terms with her past and moved forward from it.
All in all, Shine packs a hard punch. It was an intense, emotional, tear inducing journey - but one that I am so glad I took. It realistically captures and explores issues like sexuality, rape, prejudice, violence and addiction. It was dark, it was raw, it was captivating. Read it!