Monday, May 30, 2011

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Article first published as Book Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle on Blogcritics.

I know that it’s been said over and over again never to judge a book by its cover, but I have to admit that I picked up Shine by Lauren Myracle only because I was attracted by its cover.

I have never heard of the author and I had no idea what this book was about. I read the synopsis, and gathered from it that a boy named Patrick is a victim of what looks like a hate crime and is now in a coma, and sixteen-year-old Cat, his former best friend, is investigating what really happened.

It sounds pretty clear-cut, but it’s more complicated than that. There’s all sorts of relationship dynamics between the inhabitants of this small town, and of course, there’s the small-town mentality that Cat needs to overcome, especially considering that Patrick was supposedly attacked because he’s a homosexual.

Cat is threatened when she asks too many questions, but the threats only make her angrier and more determined to find the answers. In the process of digging up information about Patrick’s attack, Cat also has to dig up her own past and the emotions she buried a long time ago.

This is the town that Cat grew up in; these are people that she knows and have relationships with. Some of them she’s had bad experiences with; some were her former best friends. What do you do when you suspect that one of your friends have hurt another?

I was very impressed with how well-written Shine was. It’s kind of like a Nancy Drew crime/mystery novel in the sense that it has a teenaged sleuth who’s solving a crime by asking questions and piecing the answers together, except it’s so much more subtle than a Nancy Drew novel, and yet so much more intense and emotionally involved.

You get to know the characters well, and then you see a different side of them. I think that’s one of my favorite things about this book. Nothing and no one is really what they seem. It’s ironic that I was drawn to this book because of its cover, and then when reading it, find that the prevalent theme in this book is about not taking things at face value.

Shine is one of the most engrossing books I’ve read so far this year, and I’m so impressed by Myracle’s writing that I’ve added her other books to my To-Be-Read list.


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