Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shine by Lauren Myracle

“Shine” by Lauren Myracle was hard to read, but not because it was bad. It was just so good, intense and gripping that I found myself savoring this tale of self-discovery and mystery. It deals with some very heavy topics including drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual molestation/pedophiles, violence, and homophobia. So, be warned if that isn’t your cup of tea. It isn’t my usual either, but Ms. Myracle’s writing brought me in and kept me engrossed until the very end.

Set in the deep south, “Shine” is the story of an innocent young woman who takes the law into her own hands when she finds out her childhood friend (who is gay) has been brutally beaten and left for dead in a degrading and hateful way. Along the way, she faces the shadows of her own past and learns how to overcome in order to do what is right.

Y’all might like these parts:
  • Setting - AMAZING choice. The setting of a small mountain town in the South adds so many interesting layers to what could have ended up being a simple mystery. The drug use, alcohol abuse, and homophobia all comes about due to the setting. It’s an impoverished town with small-town, somewhat religious values. The tight knit community protecting its own and their belief systems provide a dynamic challenge to Cat’s investigation.
  • Cat - Cat really discovers her strength as a woman when she comes up against road blocks in her investigation and is forced to face her own personal demons. Ms. Myracle did a great job at slowing peeling back the layers to Cat’s psyche, creating additional mystery besides our main plot. Absolutely lovely character development!
Maybe could use a little less moonshine:
  • I would have liked to seen more of our other main male character. I feel like sometimes he became an afterthought. I can see how developing him further though could have hurt the pacing.
“Shine” is an interesting combination of self-discovery and mystery that I think adults and teens would both find engaging. The setting is what really makes the story. Not only is our heroine, Cat, facing some pretty major demons of her own, but she’s trying to go up against this tight knit, impoverished community to find justice for her friend. The setting creates additional challenges for Cat and adds a really fascinating layer to the story. This is a story that will stick with you afterwards and really make you think. It’s definitely intense, but well worth the read. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this one winning many awards this year!

“Shine” is scheduled to be released on May 1st of this year by Amulet Books (an imprint of Abrams). Thank you to Amulet/Abrams & NetGalley for the digital ARC.

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