Shine by Lauren Myracle
When her best 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.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this book. The only character I truly liked was Patrick, who was in a coma. Cat wasn’t a bad character at all, and I admired her bravery and spunk. But at the same time, Cat seemed to be a lot like everyone else in this story - homophobic. The whole premise of the story is that Patrick has been attacked because he’s gay, and in the religious southern town where he lives, that’s as much of a sin as attacking someone. Every. Single. Person. Is. Homophobic.
It’s not like that's unrealistic. And I went into Shine fully expecting some of the people to be so. But even Cat, and Patrick’s other friends, even Patrick’s boyfriend, acted homophobic. I don’t want to make this into such a big deal, because it does fit with the story (even if it still infuriates me), and Shine is very well written. It just bothered me that the people supposedly closest to Patrick didn’t really accept him, just like everyone else in that town. That issue aside, Shine was written masterfully and the intricacies of its setting were obvious and thought-out.
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