Shine by Lauren Myracle
(Harry N. Abrams, 2011, 376 pages)
Cat is a 16-year-old high school student who lives in a small town in North Carolina. Her best friend, Patrick, has recently been the victim of a hate crime. Patrick lies in a coma and Cat has taken it upon herself to try and figure out who is responsible. Because the town is so small and everyone knows everyone Cat doesn’t think the police are going to take things seriously, preferring to blame the crime on outsiders. But her older brother and his friends (also known as the Redneck Posse) have been acting pretty weird since Patrick was found. She doesn’t want to believe one of them could be responsible, but the evidence is mounting that this was an occurrence people are trying to keep quiet. And people aren’t happy that Cat is nosing around for answers.
I can definitely see the appeal of this YA book. I wasn’t necessarily wowed by it, but the story was good and kept you engaged because you’re trying to figure things out right along with Cat. It addresses issues of acceptance, homosexuality, poverty, and drugs – Myracle doesn’t try to skirt around or sugarcoat anything. The narration for the book was good, with a spot-on southern accent. If you enjoy reading YA books and appreciate a good mystery (but don’t mind some tough language and situations) you might want to pick Shine up.