Shine, by Lauren Myracle, portrays the residents of a small North Carolina town in the aftermath of a vicious crime. The narrator is 16-year-old Cat, who is on a mission to find her former best friend’s assailant. Cat’s former friend, Patrick, is openly gay and spends the duration of the novel in a coma, the apparent victim of a hate crime.
The reader finds out early on that a traumatic event occurred three years prior that caused Cat to drop her friends and withdraw, but the details of the event are not divulged until later in the novel. Despite the distance between the two friends, Cat feels she owes it to Patrick to figure out who hurt him. She is not confident the police will investigate local suspects because they are judgmental of Patrick’s sexuality. As Cat opens up to old and new friends while searching for Patrick’s assailant, her wounds begin to heal.
Shine includes some pretty heavy material: homophobia, abuse, drug addiction and prejudices. Despite the heavy subject matter, the reader is left with a sense of hope. Hope that sometimes people say things that they don’t truly mean and hope that sometimes people do change for the better.
Lauren Myracle is very popular for her Internet Girls series. I hope that her popularity helps get this book into the hands of young adults whose minds might be changed for the better after reading Shine.
My rating: 4 stars