Thursday, September 12, 2013


I first came across the book Shine by Lauren Myracle through the Eliot Rosewater Committee, an Indiana-based committee of teachers, librarians, and students that chooses the "best of the best" books for Indiana high school students.  I had prepared myself to not like it--it just didn't sound like my kind of book--but I was very wrong.

  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic/Mystery 
Summary from Goodreads:
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.

The Gist
Patrick is found unconscious at the "Come-n-Go" gas station/convenience store.  He was beaten with a baseball bat and had a gas pump forced down his mouth.  Now he's in a coma in the hospital.  The reason for this brutality?  Most likely because he is gay.
Cat--his elementary friend--wants to solve the mystery, especially after the police do very little investigating.  But in their poor, backwards, uneducated North Carolina town, Cat must also deal with her own personal demons of sexual abuse and small-town gossip. 
What I Loved
  • This book, in typical Myracle fashion, covered a deep topic but wasn't overly dark.  Very well presented.
  • This was a strong mystery with plenty of characters involved.
  • There were many complications that rose due to the small-town setting, like gossip, no cell phones, meth addiction, etc. A very interesting setting.
  • The side characters were strong, especially in their individual situations (Wally with meth, Robert being mentally challenged, Aunt Tildy in covering things up).
What I Didn't Love
  • Aunt Tildy--I just hated her character and how she completely ignored what happened to Cat.
  • Cat's meeting/connection with Jason seemed just a little too coincidental for me.
Favorite quote: "He slung both arms over the back of his chair, and it reminded me how different girls and guys were.  Girls kept their bodies tucked in tight, while boys took up every inch of room they could."

Overall a FANTASTIC read.  Very compelling and thought-provoking.  Well done, Lauren Myracle.

Tomorrow I will have an outfit inspired by the book's small-town, summer setting.  See you then!

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