Shine is a story that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. Cat is a teen with many problems, and lives in a small town with its own problems. The story starts out with Patrick in a coma in the hospital because he has been beaten up. Patrick is gay, from this very small town, and this is being labeled as a hate crime. But, did someone from out of town do this? Or is it a local? Cat is determined to find out. Patrick was her absolute best friend, until “something” happened three years ago, and since then Cat has ignored everyone.
So as Cat makes contact with all of her old friends to find out what happened to Patrick, she also begins a monologue about what happened to make her close herself off.
I’m not going to give away anything more, so I’m just going to tell you that you will root for Cat as you slowly begin to understand her pain. This is a story about small town life, where everyone knows everyone’s secrets, some of these “secrets” are kept swept under the rug, and if you are different, you will suffer. Cat does a lot of growing up, and learns a lot about her peers that makes her realize that things are not always what they seem.
Shine paints a realistically horrible picture of meth usage, which is a contributing factor in many of the situations in this book.
The story also involves some tension at the end. I like the end of the book – I think this is probably how teens would deal with this type of situation (not that this situation is a common one.)
The supporting characters are each individual, well-drawn characters that we can relate to. Most of the grownups in the story are supportive, but not perfect. These are teens with different home lives and different personalities. But as I’m reading about each character, I could always think, “Oh, he/she reminds me of XXXX, a teen that I know.” I guess what I’m trying to say is that, while the specific situations might not be relatable, the characters are. They are typical teens that we see every day.
Lauren Myracle has written a dark tale, and I think that’s unusual for her. She has crafted an interesting story that will keep you wondering, thinking, rooting, and in the end leaves you with hope. Teens will love the realism and depth of this story.
Published by Amulet Books, May 1, 2011
Ebook obtained from NetGalley for review
376 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)
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