Reviews for Shine


Booklist Reviews 2012 February #1
Patrick Truman has been beaten and left for dead at the convenience store where he works. His attackers left a gas nozzle stuffed in his mouth, meant to reference his sexual preference. Cat used to be his best friend, and the shame she feels for having dropped him propels her to find out just what happened and who among those in her closed, North Carolina backwoods community is responsible. Myracle treads carefully to avoid stereotypes: Patrick is not reviled by the other guys (he is something of a mascot), and the young suspects who readers will initially target as perpetrators are more dimensional than they seem. Cat, too, grows throughout the story, as she must face both her prejudices and her fears. But even with her eye on character, Myracle doesn't forget her story, and this is a rip-roaring mystery that will have readers turning pages. The rushed ending is something of a fairy tale. Still, this provides a lot to think about, and teens who are experimenting with their own places in the world will find someone in the book whose problems match their own. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
BookPage Reviews 2011 May
Dark mystery in an idyllic country setting

Shine is the story of a hate crime, or so it seems. Cat’s dear friend Patrick has been savagely beaten and left in a coma, and everyone in town knows it’s because he’s gay. But no one, including the sheriff, knows what actually happened—so Cat makes it her mission to find the attacker herself. This is serious stuff, and author Lauren Myracle doesn’t shy away from the tough emotions her characters face: “Why does God let bad things happen?” Cat wonders in anguish. “Could he not see her, or did he not care?”

Beyond the strife and violence, Shine is also a Southern story, a country story, refreshingly regional amid a sea of novels set in suburban Anywhere, USA. Black Creek, North Carolina, is a tiny village of 500, idyllic in setting but isolated, and with more than its share of poverty and problems. Myracle gets in all the details: the beauty of the woods and the comfort of home cooking, but also the drug use that threatens the community, and the embarrassed anger Cat feels at being thought of as a hillbilly by the people in town.

In becoming a small-town sleuth, Cat not only solves the mystery of the night her friend was attacked, but also confronts pain from her own past she hasn’t yet dealt with. She has an essential sweetness—and a bit of sass—that make her a winning main character. But the novel’s ending, while satisfying, has the main characters perpetuating a lie, which feels strange after so much truth-seeking. All in all, though, this is an engaging story with characters who really come to life.

Copyright 2011 BookPage Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Sixteen-year-old Cat's gay friend is in a coma, the victim of a hate crime. Her search for the perpetrator leads to disturbing revelations about her friends in their rural impoverished North Carolina town. Cat's authentically Southern, lyrical narration captures tough realities like prejudice, drug use, and abuse (emotional, sexual, and physical), but ends on an optimistic note. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2011 April #1

When her gay best friend is brutally beaten in contemporary Black Creek, N.C., a withdrawn teen tracks his assailant. Different from other kids in their ignorant, poverty-stricken, backwoods community, 16-year-old Cat and 17-year-old Patrick have been "kindred spirits" since childhood. Growing up with a drunken father, a well-meaning aunt and an older brother she no longer trusts, Cat was "full of light and life" until one of her brother's "gay-bashing redneck" friends "messed" with her. For three years, Cat has blinded herself to everyone, including Patrick, convinced her "entire existence meant nothing." But when Patrick's beaten and left for dead at the convenience store where he works, a gasoline nozzle protruding from his mouth, an angry, guilt-ridden Cat knows she must open her eyes and "look straight into the ugliness and find out who hurt him." Cat describes her relentless, determined investigation in the first person, proceeding day by day over a period of two and a half weeks, allowing readers to gradually absorb the complex, twisted relationships, shocking evidence, disturbing memories and gritty atmosphere. Motivated to solve the horrific hate crime, Cat eventually uncovers the truth in a cliffhanging climax in which she confronts fear, discovers that love is stronger than hate and truly "shines." Raw, realistic and compelling. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

----------------------
Library Journal BookSmack
The impact of meth on rural America informs this gritty mystery from the author of Bliss (2008). Beaten and left with his mouth taped to a gas nozzle, gay teen Patrick is now in a coma, and 16-year-old Cat is determined to find the perpetrator of this hate crime, spurred by guilt over having withdrawn from her relationship with her former best friend. The police want to pin it on college students passing through, but Cat believes that the answer lies closer to home, with the "redneck posse" to which Patrick and Cat's brother belong. While the mystery drives the story, place and character set this book apart. Cat's investigation of the posse's involvement uncovers the sad reality that too many people in her small, South Carolina hill town are cookers or users. There are some painful scenes here-particularly the near-rape of Cat at age of 13 at the hands of the town rich boy-as Myracle balances Cat's navet with her strong will and determination to rise above her impoverished circumstances. - "35 Going on 13," Booksmack! 8/18/11. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

----------------------
Library Media Connection Reviews 2011 August/September
The book begins with a newspaper article reporting the brutal beating of a teenager, attributed as a gay hate crime. In this small town in North Carolina, the young man's friend Cat tries to find out who did this terrible thing to him. The story is told through Cat's view as Patrick lies in a coma, fighting for his life. The town sees this as a hate crime, but as Cat investigates, the story becomes one of friends not as they seem, drug running, and uncontrolled rage. While this feels like a homophobic story, it quickly morphs into a story with twists and turns as Cat learns the truth about what really happened and grows as an individual. This is a well-written, fast-paced story about the danger all teenagers can face if their peers view them as different. It will be a good addition to your high school collection as a story that tackles diversity issues as well as the hard choices facing teenagers who don't always view the consequences of their actions. Deb Grove, Library Media Specia ist, Papillion-LaVista High School, Papillion, Nebraska. RECOMMENDED ¬ 2011 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 March #2

Cat has been distant from childhood best friend Patrick for three years (she began to "ignore the whole world" after an older friend of her brother's molested her). Even so, when a horrific and possible hate crime leaves openly gay Patrick comatose, she decides to "look straight into the ugliness and find out who hurt him." She grows suspicious of her brother's friends, "the redneck posse," who were with Patrick the night of his attack--especially as she learns they are keeping dangerous secrets, including dealing and using meth. Myracle (Bliss) paints the desperate poverty and bitter divisions within Cat's mountain community well, with memorable details like a friend coloring the duct tape patches on her couch to match the fabric or a meth cooker's bathtub filled with funnels and coffee filters. These details and the thick mystery that Cat unfurls will keep readers engaged--and suspecting several characters, as Cat does. The final faceoff strains believability and the conclusion is a tad neat, but readers will find themselves thinking about Cat's complicated rural community long after the mystery has been solved. Ages 14-up. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2011 June

Gr 10 Up--Cat, 16, has isolated herself over the past three years, retreating from her friends and life after being violated by a boy she knew. But after a gay-bashing incident involving her former best friend at the local convenience store where he works leaves him in a coma, she is determined to enter the world again and investigate the crime to make up for all the years she abandoned him. The sheriff suspects his attackers are most likely out-of-towners angry with Patrick because he refused to sell them alcohol. Cat assumes the perpetrators are closer to home since the "redneck posse" that Patrick hung around with never fully accepted him and must know something since they partied with him earlier in the night. In a week's time, Cat pays visits to her old friends and slowly learns about the hidden relationships in the meth-addled underbelly of her hill-country Southern town. Most of the teens in this novel have either dropped out of high school, come from broken families, or been abused. It's a bleak story leavened a little by the things Cat learns about herself in the course of her investigation. Myracle captures well the regret that many feel for things in their past about which they are ashamed. Cat's reflections on these moments are spot-on.--Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA

[Page 128]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

----------------------
VOYA Reviews 2011 April
Everyone in Black Creek has always known that Patrick is gay, and although he was teased by his peers, he was always protected from abuse by outsiders. So when Patrick is found outside the convenience store where he worked, unconscious, bruised, and bloody, tied to the gas pump with the nozzle stuck into his throat and secured with duct tape, it is assumed that some partying boys from a nearby college attacked him when he refused to sell them alcohol Although sixteen-year-old Cat and Patrick were once very close, she drifted away from most of her friends shortly after she started high school. After the attack on Patrick, she begins to feel guilty: if she had remained close to him, they would have been together, and he would not have been injured. Cat decides that the only way to make amends is to find out who hurt him, so she quietly starts her own investigation, knowing that his friends will not be eager to talk, and that she might be putting herself in danger. Cat discovers who the attacker was, and in the process, finds her way back to the person she once was This is a difficult book to read even though the violence is more implied than explicitGive this to mature readers.--Marlyn Beebe 5Q 4P S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

----------------------