Monday, January 9, 2012

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Shine by Lauren Myracle
Release Date – May 1, 2011
Publisher Website – Amulet
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 350 pages
My Rating- 8/10
**Obtained from the library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 was first drawn to this novel due to the similarities it has to Matthew Shepard and his story. I can remember the first time I heard about Matthew Shepard. His story really impacted me, and I have never forgotten it. This author was obviously touched by his story as well.

This book is one of those reads that will stay with you, make you ache, and cause you to think. You will think about your role in the world, and if you’ve made a difference. You’ll think of all those times you should have stood up for someone being bullied, or called someone on a remark you heard them make. You realize how each little incident hurts, and is part of a larger problem.

The story is intense, gut wrenching, and the author doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff. The writing is engrossing, and you’ll be sucked into the mystery of what happened the night Patrick was attacked.

The characters are all so wonderfully complex, flawed, and real. All of the characters are written in such a way that you feel like you really get to know them; even the minor characters.

When we meet Cat she has just come off a period of self imposed exile. Something horrible happened to her that made her withdraw from all her friends.  Her desire to get to the truth of what happened to Patrick is really inspiring. She sticks to what she believes and doesn’t back down even after being told to “let it be”. I found her courageous, strong willed, and caring. She was a mess, and not perfect, but you understand where she is coming from.

The little we get to learn about Patrick is mostly told via flashbacks/memories.  He seems like an outgoing, funny guy who is a fantastic friend. It makes what happened to him all the more heartbreaking.

When the secrets and lies are revealed, and the truth is revealed you are left feeling sad. The person responsible for Patrick may not come as a huge shock, but it is still crushing.

As dark as this novel is there ends up being moments of hope intermixed with the moments of despair. It shows you that even the darkest moments you can find the light. It ultimately ends on a hopeful note, and has a message that we should all carry with us.


  1. I loved this book! It was my #1 of 2011 for so many reasons. When I went to hear Lauren speak about this book, she said that it was inspired by Matthew Shepard. She's a beautiful person and it comes through in her writing. I think this should be read read in every high school classroom in America. It is such an important message. Great review!

    Karis @YA Litwit

  2. I'm so happy you got the chance to read this book, it can be rather powerful and honest and moving. Great review, Kathy. :)

  3. Oh man, this sounds pretty incredible. I love those books that really send across a powerful message and make you question things in your own life. Shine sounds like exactly that and Cat seems like such a well-crafted character.

    I am really eager to read this now, amazing review, Kathy!

  4. Just reading your review gave me goosebumps. I think this is going to make it on my tbr list, for sure.

    Nerd Girls at Books to the Sky


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