I've been meaning to get this post written for a while, but it's been a busy few days. Now that I can finally enjoy my March Break, here are my thoughts on Shine by Lauren Myracle.
I've had my eye on this book for a while. First, we had a "judge the book by the cover" kind of relationship - I saw the cover and I liked it. In an effort to save money, I left it there. When I saw it on the top list of Teen books, I decided to give it a try.
(Fun fact about this book: It was nominated as a National Book Award finalist for Young Adult literature, but apparently there was a "miscommunication" and Myracle was asked to withdraw her name from the running. I guess a similarly titled book was initially supposed to get nominated instead of "Shine." I liked the book and find this whole situation to be a little bit ridiculous and Myracle should have been able to keep her nomination. Her book was good! Read about it all here.)
Patrick is the victim of an antigay hate crime in his small community of Black Creek. He's assaulted and basically left there, dying. Because of the closeness of the community members, the police don't want to do too much investigating. Cat, Patrick's best friend, takes it in her own hands to figure out who is responsible for the crime. She has been through her own rough patches with some of the community members and so she has her own suspects in mind. During her detective work, Cat gets to face some of her own issues that have been haunting her for years.
It's really hard for me to imagine this all happening the way it did since I didn't grow up in a "small" town like Black Creek. It's hard for me to accept that a justice system would basically stand around and do nothing while a young boy is laying in a coma in a hospital bed. I'm thankful that I didn't grow up in a situation like this!
The issues that are discussed in this book are serious ones, and I think it's great to open the eyes of a young adult audience to these topics. The one major topic is that of the antigay hate crime (and bullying), but they also touch on drugs and alcohol, depression and rape.
The story was a good little mystery, and I think it's a good read for Young Adult readers.
If you haven't already read my post about Peter Katz and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, you can find it here.