Author: Lauren Myracle
Publisher: Amulet Books
Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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.
Review: This was yet another book on the Battle reading list. Another girl on my team read it before me and I read it, thinking nobody else had yet. Whatever. (: Anywho, her reading it too was a bonus because we could have book discussions about it. Trust me, you'll need to talk about this book with someone.
Like I said, I read this book because I didn't think anyone on my team had read it yet, so I picked it up without reading the synopsis. I had no idea what it was about. After reading the first chapter, it's safe to say I was more than surprised about the topic. An attempted murder on a gay teenager in a small town. In Shine, because Patrick is a gay teenager, it changes the way the investigation is handled. The sheriff department labels it from an attempted murder to a hate crime. And that's about as far as they get on the situation. That's what Cat thinks anyway.
Being sixteen-years-old myself, I could easily put myself in Cat's shoes. She took it upon herself to find the person who put Patrick in a coma, no matter how dangerous it was. She sent herself and those closest to her on an adventure that un-buries dark secrets that haven't been dug up in years, or secrets that nobody knew about in the first place. I fell in love with Cat quickly because she's a strong female character that learns how to take care of herself and not depend on others. After she was raped by her brother's best friend at thirteen, her world was turned upside down and she felt helpless and alone. She pushed all of her friends away and came to the conclusion that her older brother, Christian, never cared about her in the first place. After Patrick's attack, she decides to stop hiding from everything and everyone and face her fears to help her friend. It was hard not to applaud for her during her investigation of Patrick's case.
Another character I fell in love with was Christian. Whether Cat knew it or not, he always had her back. He cared about Cat so much that he risked his life for her. If I had an older brother, I imagine he would be like Christian. I don't usually get confused by characters, maybe their thoughts or actions, but never the character themselves. Jason was the first character that confused me. He was rude to Cat at the local library and called her a nickname, then all of a sudden he's willing to help her find Patrick's attacker. Anybody else confused by this sudden change of heart, or was it just me?
I'm a big fan of crime shows, (I watch Castle and Criminal Minds on a daily basis), but I've only read a few crime/mystery books. I enjoy plot twists and not knowing who the real "killer" is until the end, and Shine did not disappoint. I strongly urge readers to pick this book up and read it ASAP. The thrill aspect is great, but the way Lauren Myracle writes about modern issues (gay marriage and rape) is tastefully done. Because of that, Shine gets a 5.