Earlier this week it was announced that the National Book Awards had asked Lauren Myracle to withdraw Shine from the final list of nominees, due to a "misunderstanding". I'm not about to get involved here in a discussion about the merits of this decision. Instead, I'm going to post the review I wrote for VOYA and NetGalley.
Please be warned that there are SPOILERS in this review!!!
Shine by Lauren Myracle.*
Everyone in Black Creek has always known that Patrick was gay, and although he was teased by his peers, he was always protected from abuse by outsiders. So when Patrick is found outside the convenience store where he worked, unconscious, bruised and bloody, tied to the gas pump with the nozzle stuck into his throat and secured with duct tape, it’s assumed that some partying boys from a nearby college attacked him when he refused to sell them alcohol.
Although 16-year-old Cat and Patrick were once very close, she’d drifted away from most of her friends shortly after she started high school. (Later in the book, we learn that this was because her brother’s friend Tommy molested her, and the only way she could deal with it was by isolating herself.)
But after the attack, she begins to feel guilty: if she’d remained close to Patrick, they’d be together, and he wouldn’t have been injured. Cat decides that the only way to make amends is to find out who hurt him, so she quietly starts her own little investigation, knowing that his friends won’t be eager to talk, and that she might be putting herself in some danger.
Cat is smart and perseverant, and stumbles upon many things she’d rather not have, she does discover who the attacker was, and in the process, finds her way back to the person she once was.
This is a difficult book to read even though the violence is more implied than explicit. Save it for more mature readers.
*My sincere thanks to VOYA magazine and NetGalley for providing me with advance copies to review.