Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Shine by Lauren Myracle is definitely one of the most powerful books I've read in 2012, if not ever, but somehow it's been waiting to be reviewed for nearly four months. I guess somewhere in there I started a PhD– but that's no excuse. This is an incredibly novel that deserves to be shared, and I'm happy I'm finally going to do that.

In Shine, sixteen-year-old Cat's former best friend Patrick is the victim of a horrible hate crime. As he's left fighting for his life, it seems the small town police in Black Creek aren't doing much to find the person responsible, because Patrick was gay.  Cat sets out to find his attacker herself, but she has her own trauma from years ago that still haunts her. Cat and Patrick's stories are intertwined in an incredibly dark novel about intolerance and secrets.

It is definitely the mystery of Shine that first pulled me in, I desperately wanted to know who Patrick's attacker(s) were. But I was kept reading by the power and strength of Myracle's writing. This is the first book I've read by her, but it definitely won't be the last. Myracle tackles real and serious issues with thoughtfulness and realism. Black Creek comes alive, and so do the people living there. They are complicated and damaged, and they don't always realize the consequences of their actions. But the reader does, and that's what makes it so painful to read.

Last year, Shine was accidentally nominated for a National Book Award, and then un-nominated (read Myracle's thoughts here). There was a lot of outrage at the time about how much Shine deserved to be on that list. Granted, I haven't read the other books on the list, but I absolutely believe Shine should have made the list. It's a novel with an important and powerful message, but instead of being preachy, it's truly about the characters. There are probably some minor faults, in particular a small romantic subplot that didn't feel necessary and often seemed awkward in the context of an otherwise profound story.

However, ultimately, Lauren Myracle has written a strong and beautiful novel that is dark and truthful with its characters and messages. Nearly four months after I read it, Shine stays with me, and I expect it will for a long time to come. Not only is this a book I highly recommend, I think it's an incredibly important addition to high school libraries and it certainly belongs on all their shelves. If you haven't picked it up, you are missing out.

Release Date: May 1st 2011  Pages: 350  Format: Hardcover 
Source: Publisher  Publisher: Abrams Buy It: Book Depository


  1. This sounds like a truly terrific read and is going straight onto my to-read list! Thanks for this great review, and don't worry about it being four-months late. Better late than never! :)

    1. If I can even get one more person to read it, my reviews are all worthwhile. So thanks Faye! It had gotten so late I wasn't sure about writing it, but I loved the book so much I knew I had to, and now I'm glad I did. I really hope you love it too! I can't wait to read your review :)

  2. I saw this at my library a while ago and I wanted to read it so badly, then the next time I went, it was gone. Poof! And now it is still not back. D:

    Great review, I'm seriously going out to buy this book later this week. You have inspired me to do that, since this book is that good.

    1. I highly recommend it! I donate a lot of my books after I read them because of space constraints, but this is one that will be staying on my shelf :) Well, until I lend it out, because it's too great not to share. I really hope you love it too!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I read it as well. It was a phenomenal novel. My heart ached for Patrick. The book made me angry and sad and happy and that is what I loved most about the book. I loved how powerful and inspirational it is, especially with people who are homoesexual. I think it helped some of them realize that there are people who care and will continue to care. Loved your review!

    Happy reading!!



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