Sunday, November 18, 2012
Shine by Lauren Myracle
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