May 19, 2012

Review: Shine

By: Lauren Myracle
Published: May 2011 by Amulet
Format: Hardback, 350 pages
First Reviewed: May 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

A boy beaten, bound, and left for dead, words of hate scrawled across his chest...
A girl shrinking from life, enslaved by a shameful secret...
A tight-knit Southern community riddled by poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance...

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.
Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

Rating: 4/5

Originally when I got this, I was so excited to read it. I love when authors are tackling subjects that not many would. But then when I read Bliss, by the same author, I became a little less excited. Not because I didn't like Bliss, but because it just was all right and I didn't want to get my hopes up. But Shine is definitely in another league than Bliss.

First off, Myracle did a wonderful job with the voices in this. Every character had a distinct one, accents and all. And Cat was a great lead, in my opinion. I loved her. She had a great voice, a consistent personality, and was believable. As for the minor characters, I felt they were missing something. Not all of them, but a few. I couldn't place my finger on what it was, but I felt a bit distant from them. Not overly so, though, and for the most part they were nicely developed. I would have liked to have seen a bit more development in Jason and also more showing of Beef's personality. We were told a lot, but I would have liked to have seen it more.

So much better than in Bliss. Myracle more than improved, methinks. As I've already said, the voices were very distinct, but Myracle also captured the accents to perfection. The dialogue was realistic, Cat's narration and inner dialogue was realistic, and the pacing of this was great. There were a few errors and missing words (not counting the purposeful ones), but I don't have much to complain about.

Pretty darn great plot, I reckon! Mostly, I really enjoyed it. Myracle had me wondering who hurt Patrick from the beginning, and I loved following Cat's hunt for the perpetrator. And it wasn't just a story about the hunt. Cat learns of her friends and acquaintances' true selves and there's some great messages in this. What I had a bit of a problem with is that the person who hurt Patrick was clear way before the characters knew and ended up not being much of a surprise. I was really hoping for a twist, but ended up being a bit disappointed.

However, disappointment aside, I did like the ending all right, even though it felt a tad bit rushed after the climax, and overall really enjoyed this read. I read it straight through and it kept me from going crazy on the train. haha! It was very well written, the characters were great, and the plot had me engrossed from the start to the end. I had a few issues with it, some I didn't bother mentioning since they'd be spoilers, but this is something I'd read again. FYI: To those who don't support homosexuality, I still recommend this book. It's about tolerance and respect.

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