Monday, May 16, 2011

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Shine by Lauren Myracle
Release Date: May 1, 2011
Publisher: Amulet Books



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.  - Goodreads.com


Wow.  Every now and then, a book comes along that just hurts you to read.  This was one of them.  The events that kick off this story are sad, despicable, and you would think, unheard of.  I do know that in some places, this sort of thing does happen, even though it is awful to even contemplate.  Lauren Myracle did a phenomenal job of handling this sensitive and sometimes controversial topic.

It's a small town, and some people can be small-minded.  Cat's friend is a homosexual and someone hated him enough to viciously beat him, nearly to death.  This has always been something that's baffled me about people.  Even if you don't agree with someone's lifestyle, why do something like this to them?  Just disagree and go on.  Don't commit such an atrocity.  Of course, in this world and these circumstances, there's a lot more to the story than even that.  Longtime friendships are questioned, people are suspected amongst of a pool of people that Cat has known her whole life.  Myracle did a great job showing Cat's internal struggle in dealing with the possibility that perhaps the people that did this to her friend might not be strangers, but might be someone amongst those she's grown up with and cared about her whole life.

I can't say I was super surprised when I found out who the culprit was.  The author had laid out some good foreshadowing and some other little hints that kind of brought me to the right conclusion.  Despite the fact that I did guess it in advance, however, it didn't detract from the impact of the revelation or from the story itself.

I really loved watching Cat follow up and perform her own investigation.  She was smart, and she asked questions and dug through histories until she found the answer.  I love to watch a heroine like that who is strong and resourceful. 

Although the subject matter itself wasn't fun, the book was a pleasure to read, although it ripped your heart out at times.  An awesome story by Lauren Myracle, and the first one I've read by her before.  I will definitely be combing the shelves looking for additional stories by this author.

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